Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are legally required to be licenced.
If a property should be licensed and is not, the person managing it is committing an offence under Section 72 (1) of the Housing Act 2004 and could be fined up to £20,000 on conviction.
Most of Newport's landlords offer good quality living accommodation and operate within the law but there are some who are less responsible.
There are a number of offences and penalties relating to HMOs under the Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations.
Council officers will inspect a HMO if we feel the property is risk or if we receive a request or complaint.
When we inspect we will check compliance with licensing conditions, HMO management regulations and assess under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
If a landlord is convicted for failing to licence a HMO we can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for a rent repayment order.
This would let us claim back any housing benefit paid during the time the property was operating without a licence, up to a maximum of 12 months.
A tenant can also apply to the tribunal for repayment of any rent they paid during the same period.
Section 49 of the Housing Act 2004 lets local authorities make a reasonable charge to cover the cost of serving a formal Improvement Notice (Sections 11 and 12), a Prohibition Order (Sections 20 and 21), taking Emergency Remedial Action (Section 40) and an Emergency Prohibition Order (Section 43).
These notices are served if the property is in disrepair.
There is a charge of £385.00 for each formal notice and a £52 charge for each additional identical notice served on another recipient at the same time.
If the repairs detailed in the notice are not carried out by the responsible person we may prosecute or do the work.
The cost of the works and an additional 20% administrative charge will be invoiced to the responsible person and will be land charged against the property involved.
For further inforamtion ask for the environmental health (HMO team) at Newport Council