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Landlord successfully prosecuted for running unlicenced HMO

Wiltshire Council has successfully prosecuted a landlord in Salisbury for three offences related to running an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Published 20 May 2021
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Ms Siddika Begum of Hawthorn Close, Salisbury was prosecuted after she failed to licence a house in multiple occupation (HMO) also in Hawthorn Close, Salisbury.

Ms Begum pleaded guilty to three offences at Swindon Magistrates Court on Friday 14 May 2021:

•        Operating an unlicensed HMO 

•        Falsifying information when requested by the council

•        Contraventions under the HMO Management Regulations (by failing to provide gas, electrical and fire safety certification). 

Ms Begum was fined over £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,224, plus a victim surcharge.

The property, a mid-terrace, three storey house, in a residential Close, was continually occupied from March 2019 to September 2020 by up to 20 Romanian adults and their children. Many of the adults occupying the property were local shift workers. 

During the course of the investigation Ms Begum denied that the property was being used as an HMO and claimed she lived there with a couple of friends despite evidence to the contrary.

Cllr Phil Alford, Cabinet Member for Housing said, "Because the property was overcrowded and unregulated, not only did it pose a potential health and safety risk to the occupants, the neighbours were impacted by significant levels of anti-social behaviour, large amounts of domestic waste causing rats, together with fly tipping and various motor offences including a large number of unpaid parking fines. 

"The evidence required to take this case to prosecution couldn't have been achieved without the assistance of many different agencies, including Wiltshire Police and was particularly challenging given the Coronavirus situation at the time.

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