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There’s no place like HMO


A brief trip to the Emerald City, or rather Reading, where the Borough Council may have established a record for a fine for breaches of The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and the Housing Act 2004 Section 11.

An HMO at 33 London Road was found by Reading BC to be in terrible condition, with a leaking and collapsed ceiling, missing and broken windows, a defective fire alarm and a non-functioning WC. Improvement notices went unheeded and the saga had dragged on since 2007.

Millicent Okumo, the former landlord, was prosecuted and found guilty on 12 charges:

Six offences under Regulation 7 – failure to ensure that fixtures and fittings used in the common parts were maintained in good repair, which included missing a window pane to the dining room, a broken WC, missing kitchen cabinet door, dirty and poorly maintained common parts.

Three offences under Regulation 8 – including poor repair of a bedroom window, leaking ceiling, a collapsed ceiling,

Two offences under Regulation 4 – the fire alarm system was not maintained in good working order

One offence under Section 11 of the Housing Act 2004 – failure to comply with an improvement notice requiring fire safety works to be done.

The Magistrates levied the maximum fines of £5,000 on each offence, totalling £60,000, plus £2,667 costs.

The property had been sold by Ms Okumo and redeveloped. No mention of the former occupants.

After our observations on the low level of fines for breaches of licensing or the regulations shown in the LACORS round-up, it is encouraging to see the full penalty being imposed here. One hopes the munchkins are happy.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. David

    Not sure it is a record: see this case Bexley Magistrates Court, Greater London has fined Ludomir Szulc £99,000. He pleaded guilty to 22 offences brought by the London Borough of Bexley under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. These are the rules that set out the duties of landlords and managers of houses in multiple occupation under the 2004 Housing Act. Environmental health officesrs found uncapped gas pipes in bedrooms, dangerous electrics lacl of adequate fire precautions, badly maintained and filthy bathrooms and kitchen and a lack of hot water to kitchen and sinks.

    The original fine was £110,000 but reduced to £99,000 on pleading guilty.

    • NL

      David, thanks for that. Got a link? And when was this? – Ah, never mind. Found it. 2007/8 and the story is at this link. Looks like £5K on each of 22 counts, then £11K knocked off for a guilty plea. Costs of £5,835. You’re right, that is a significantly higher fine.


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