Landlord Let Oxford Unlicensed Property to Disabled

An Oxford landlord was found to be letting rooms to three disabled people in an unlicensed property in the Rose Hill area of Oxford.

The property was being run as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) with rooms let separately. However, the house did not have the correct HMO licence.

When Oxford City Council environmental health officers visited in September 2016, they found that the house in Nowell Road, Rose Hill, had no fire alarms or kitchen fire door as is required for a House of Multiple Occupation. The council officers also found seven other defects at the property.

From 2015 a change to the law has meant landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties, in order to rent them out in the private rental sector.

Three disabled people were found to be among the tenants renting rooms at the unlicensed HMO property.

Following the visit, Oxford City Council classed the property as a high-risk unlicensed HMO and decided to take action against the landlord.

The council then applied to the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property) in order to claim back £5,798 in housing benefit that the landlord had received while managing the HMO on behalf of the three disabled tenants.

Following the successful claim to the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber, the landlord, was then prosecuted by the council in a hearing at Oxford Magistrates Court.

William Stephen Rielly, of Rochfords Gardens, Slough, admitted in court managing an unlicensed HMO and failing in his duty to comply with two fire safety measures.

The court fined Mr Rielly £1,500 and also ordered him to pay the council costs of £1,000.

Along with the repayment of housing benefit received, the landlord was forced by the court to pay a total of £8,298.