Ipswich landlord to pay over £11K in fines after failing to properly licence a house that had 12 people living in it

The property on Reading Road was housing 12 people despite not having a House in Multiple Occupation licence. Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

A landlord has been ordered to pay £11,500 in fines and costs after not properly licensing a property that was housing 12 people on Reading Road in Ipswich, Suffolk.

This is otherwise known as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMN) offence.

Mr Martyn Williams, from Needham Market, was convicted of the offence following a trial at Ipswich Magistrates Court on Tuesday 27th April 2021.

Upon inspection of the property, Ipswich Borough Council found that people were sleeping in an under-stairs cupboard that also had the electrical distribution board.

People were sleeping in an under-stairs cupboard that also had the electrical distribution board. Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

There was also no fire alarm system or fire safety measures and a key would be needed to leave the property.

Serious electrical defects were also found.

Damage to the building was found upon insepction. Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

The investigation into Mr Wiliams's property started in August 2019 following complaints by neighbours and information from another council.

This led to Ipswich Borough Council, together with the Gangmasters, the Labour Abuse Authority as well as Suffolk Constabulary entering the property with a warrant in February 2020.

HMOs must be licensed to both help better ensure the safety and comfort of residents as well as the impact of the property on the area. Failure to licence an HMO is an offence. This will be met with enforcement action which can result in a criminal conviction.

Ian Blofield, Head of Housing and Community Services at Ipswich Borough Council
Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

Mr Williams entered a guilty plea for the offence of failing to license the HMO. He was fined  £4000 (which had been reduced due to his guilty plea) and he was also ordered to pay costs of £7596.