Local Authorities are being increasingly active in investigating and prosecuting landlords for breaches of the Housing Act Regulations. Investigations and prosecutions through the criminal courts can result in heavy fines and in some cases, imprisonment.
If you are being investigated or prosecuted it is vital that you receive expert advice and our team at Lupton Fawcett is experienced in dealing with a wide variety of housing matters.
Your first contact with regards to being investigated may be a letter from the relevant authority inviting you to attend a meeting or an interview under caution. If you receive such a letter it is vital that you contact an expert solicitor to assist you as what you say during that interview may significantly effect the investigation and its outcome.
By having us as your legal representative you get the benefit of solicitors who understand what is involved in investigations and unlike many firms, are fully conversant with Police Station procedure.
Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)
We are seeing an increase in enforcement proceedings in respect of houses of multiple occupations. Many landlords remain unaware of firstly, what constitutes a HMO and secondly, the significant financial penalties for breaches of HMO regulations. If you own a HMO then you, as a landlord must meet certain standards and obligations, including extra fire and safety measures.
Your home is a HMO if:
• At least 3 tenants live there, forming more than one household
• Tenants share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities
Your home is a large HMO if:
• It is at least 3 stories high
• At least 5 tenants live there, forming more than one household
• Tenants share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants
All large HMOs need a licence from the local council, as well as meeting the standards and complying with the obligations set out in the regulations.
Where Local Authorities discover an alleged breach they will typically invite the landlords to attend an interview under caution and if breaches are found then you can be prosecuted through the criminal courts.
As a landlord you must follow the correct procedures when evicting a tenant and a failure to do so is a criminal offence which can result in prosecution through the criminal courts, fines and in some cases, imprisonment.
Examples of illegal eviction include using force or threats to remove a tenant, changing the locks, preventing the tenant from entering the home or parts of the home and not serving the correct notices.
If you are facing investigation or prosecution then you should seek expert advice immediately. Our specialist team is well versed at dealing with the appropriate authorities and aim to avoid prosecution where possible.
Speak to a specialist
If you are facing investigation or criminal charges under the Housing Act, speak to a member of our experienced and highly-regarded team of business law solicitors. Call our Leeds, Sheffield or Yorkshire office and discuss your case with us, or get in touch using the contact details below.
For immediate assistance please use our 24/7 mobile number 07971 520407.
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