Twickenham landlord prosecuted for running an unlicensed HMO

Release Date: 11 January 2018

A Twickenham landlord who illegally rented out his property without having the correct licence in place has been ordered to pay more than £4,000 via the court.

Mr Maksim Arnautov purchased the three storey property at 47 Whitton Road in 2012. He subsequently rented it out.

Under the Housing Act 2004, a licence is required for properties of this type which consist of 3 or more storeys and are rented out to five or more non-related people.

Following an investigation last year by Richmond Council, it found that despite more than five people living at the Whitton Road property, Mr Arnautov did not have a licence. In addition, several issues were identified within the property, including fire safety and electrical safety issues.

Whilst Mr Arnautov did undertake the remedial works and apply for a subsequent licence, the Council prosecuted him for not having it previously in place.

Following a hearing at Lavender Hill Magistrates Court on Tuesday 9 January, Mr Arnautov was found guilty of operating a licensable house in multiple occupation (HMO) without a HMO licence. He was given a fine of £3000, a victim surcharge of £170 and the Council was awarded costs of £1466 (£4636 in total). 

This prosecution is an example of the Council’s efforts to lobby the Government for improved HMO regulation.

Cllr Mark Boyle, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Housing, Public Health and Community Safety, said:

“Following an investigation by Council officers, this is a great result. This prosecution sends out a clear message that unscrupulous individuals cannot hide.

“It is our job to protect tenants' safety and we will take appropriate enforcement action if landlords fail to obtain a licence or manage their properties. I am pleased that the courts are supporting the Council in this approach through the sentence and fine issued.

“The growing issue of HMOs in our borough continues to be a problem.

“And whilst we will continue all our work on the ground, we will continue to make it clear to the Government that it must prioritise action over HMOs before substandard, overcrowded housing, and all its flow-on effects begin to impact the character and quality of life within our borough.”

For more information about HMO’s or to speak to officers email residentialeh@richmond.gov.uk.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159. 

Reference: P17/18

Updated: 31 January 2018