ASBO HMO landlord fined for breach of fire regulations

The UK’s first residential landlord to be served with an ASBO has been found guilty of failing to comply with fire regulations at a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

The ASBO HMO landlord, Catherine Boyle, 59 of 14 Iverson Road, London NW6 was convicted at Highbury Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 6 November.

The defendant was found guilty for failing to carry out works specified in an improvement notice from Camden Council and four breaches of fire-related House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) regulations.

Boyle also breached her HMO licence by providing her tenants with non-fire retardant furniture.

The UK’s first ASBO landlord was fined £3,600 and ordered to pay Camden’s costs of £4,459.60. Boyle must pay the sum within four months. A failure to carry out works could see her prosecuted again by the authority.

The council had served an improvement notice on Boyle in April 2011, requiring her to carry out extensive works to rectify serious hazards by November last year.

When Camden’s inspectors paid a visit in January this year, the work had not been completed.

The council gave the defendant more time to comply. However, in May this year inspectors found that the fire detection and alarm system were not connected to a power supply, fire doors were inadequate and furniture was still non fire-retardant.

The house of multiple occupancy (HMO) also had poor thermal efficiency and windows “in a terrible state of repair,” Camden said.

The ASBO, lasting for two years, was obtained at Highbury Magistrates’ Court in January 2011.

Under the order, Boyle is prohibited from causing harassment, alarm or distress to her tenants, entering their rooms without consent, and cutting off their gas and electricity supply.

Camden’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Julian Fulbrook, said: “We inspect all our HMOs regularly to make sure they comply with all health and safety regulations so that tenants are safe in their homes. In the most serious cases we have the power to revoke an HMO licence and take over the running of the properties ourselves.”

Rooms in Cardiff provide services to landlords across Cardiff and South Wales who own a house of multiple occupation (HMO), Multi Let property, Student Housing or a professional house share and offer the following services:

Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  £120 Fixed Fee Tenant Finder (No Tenant No Fee)

Property Listing page to advertise your available rooms on Spareroom, EasyRoomMate, Gumtree and Zoopla until let for one Fixed Price.

HMO Rent Guarantee No Void Periods & No Fees

Alternatively you can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email

Telephone 0845 496 0000

or by completing the form below to arrange a call from one of our team.

House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) & Fire Safety

Data from the Department for Communities and Local Government show an increase in the number of commercial premises found to be satisfactory during audits by fire and rescue services across England with 59% of building deemed satisfactory during 2011-12 an increase of 3% for the period 2010-2011.

Fire and rescue services focused their audits on premises deemed to be high risk which included care homes, hotels, hospitals, educational establishments and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

No prizes for guessing which high risk group came bottom of the pile; you’ve guessed it Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).  Of all Houses in Multiple Occupation inspected only 42% HMO resulted in a satisfactory audit inspection.

Commenting on the report, Graham Ellicott, chief executive officer of the Fire Industry Association, said: “The FIA welcomes the reported increase in satisfactory fire safety audits but cautions against complacency. In addition, the definition of satisfactory varies markedly between different fire and rescue services.

“For example some will ‘mark’ even minor failures as unsatisfactory whereas others in the same situation will offer guidance and advice and if this rectifies problems then no further action is taken.

“Thus it can be difficult to compare the figures between the fire and rescue services and a more appropriate comparison is year on year for the same fire and rescue service.”

A ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment must be carried out on all commercial properties in England and Wales under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to two years if they fail to comply with the legislation.