16 December 2014

Landlord of shared house whose ‘filthy’ property was a fire hazard fined £6,000

A landlord of a shared house in Brighton whose property had ‘filthy’ living conditions, an obstructed fire escape route and who failed to register the home has been fined £6,000.


Mr Antony Paul Martin, from Coulsdon, Surrey, pleaded guilty to charges under the Housing Act 2004 and the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 at Eastbourne Magistrates Court.


The property concerned is at 8 Upper Bevendean Avenue in Brighton, BN2 4FF.


Mr Martin pleaded guilty to;


Managing a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) without the required licence


He also pleaded guilty to four breaches of management regulations due to:


Failure to ensure that that the internal structure in each part of the HMO that is used as living accommodation is maintained in good repair.
Failure to ensure that all means of escape in case of fire were kept free from obstruction and maintained in good repair.
Failure to ensure that the yard was maintained in repair, good order and clean condition.
Failure to ensure that his name, address and telephone contact number as the person managing the HMO was displayed at the property.


Officers visited the premises found that the property was in generally poor condition with:


Tiles hanging off the kitchen ceiling
Holes in a bedroom ceiling
Means of escape obstructed
Worn stair carpet which was causing a trip hazard 
Items dumped in the rear yard
Filthy living conditions and poorly maintained shared kitchen and bathrooms
No working fixed heating
No fire alarm system



Investigations began after routine reminders to licence the property in 2013 were ignored.


On 5th December 2014 Mr Martin was fined £2,000 for the failure to licence the HMO and £1,000 for each of the four management offences, totalling £6,000. In addition Mr Martin was ordered to pay costs to sum of £600 and £120 victim surcharge.


Cllr Bill Randall, chair of the housing committee, said:


“Residents living in the private rented sector shouldn’t have to languish in filthy properties that don’t have adequate fire alarms or escape routes.

“This prosecution underlines the need for licensing of HMOs which generally pose the biggest fire risks so that properties are inspected to protect the health and safety of residents.

“We will work with landlords to help them meet basic standards but if landlords fail to cooperate with us we will prosecute them

“So far more than 1,803 HMOs have been licensed under our successful additional licensing scheme. “




Notes to editors:


The HMO should have been licensed under the “Additional Licensing Scheme” which was introduced on 5 November 2012 by Brighton & Hove City Council.  This is a licensing scheme for smaller Houses in Multiple Occupation in five wards of the City – Hanover & Elm Grove, Hollingdean & Stanmer, Moulsecoomb & Bevendean, Queens Park and St Peter’s & North Laine.


Under the scheme, HMOs in these wards that have two or more storeys and are occupied by three or more tenants from two or more different families must be licensed. This is in addition to the national mandatory HMO licensing scheme, which requires all HMOs with three or more storeys and five or more tenants from two or more different families to be licensed wherever they are situated.