Joint operation leads to £4000 fine for HMO owner
4th March 2019
Following concerns that several flats within Cruickshank Court, Dingwall, were being occupied as unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), The Highland Council's Environmental Health team led a joint investigation with Police Scotland in September 2017 into the matter. The investigation identified several unlicensed HMOs and a report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal's Office at the time.
At Inverness Sheriff Court on the 28th February, 2019, Inverness businesswoman Claire Mohammed was fined £4000 for operating a house in multiple occupation at Cruickshank Court, Dingwall without a licence.
An HMO is a property in which three or more unrelated adults are residing as their main residence and require too share kitchen, toilet or personal washing facilities. It is an offence for any landlord to permit a property to be occupied as an HMO without a license issued by the Council. Safeguards for tenants provided by HMO licensing include checks on electrical, gas and fire safety, space standards, and management standards. Licensing helps ensure that accommodation is safe, well managed and of good quality.
Gregor MacCormick, Highland Council Senior Environmental Health Officer, said:"This was a significant operation for the Environmental Health team with visits being undertaken to nine individual flats. Serious safety concerns were identified in respect of both the management and maintenance of the flats, and we therefore welcome the level of fine that has been imposed. Our main aim in these investigations is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of tenants. We will continue to work in partnership to conduct such interventions in the future and take robust action where we find that landlords have failed in their responsibilities."
Detective Inspector Peter Mackenzie, Police Scotland, said:"We acknowledge the penalty imposed on Claire Mohammed at Inverness Sheriff court. This operation brought together several partner agencies with Police Scotland and Environmental Health Officers from Highland Council taking the lead and working closely together to gather a sufficiency of evidence in relation to serious safety concerns that were identified and subsequently reported to the Procurator Fiscal. This shows the advantages and benefit of a multi-agency approach, which we will continue to do to target any landlord who risks the safety and lives of their tenants."
Should any members of the public have concerns or wish further advice about the standards to be met within HMOs and rented accommodation then they should contact the Highland Council Environmental Health Service on 01349 886606.