Stark warning issued to landlords who fail to register shared houses in Northampton

Around �20,000 of fines could be issued to landlords who do not register shared properties as a HiMO in Northampton.
Around �20,000 of fines could be issued to landlords who do not register shared properties as a HiMO in Northampton.

A council crackdown on landlords who have not registered their shared properties as Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HiMO) could see £20,000 of fines dished out in Northampton.

The borough council introduced new policies on landlord licensing in February.

Under the rules property owners who fail to licence a HiMO on time are now required to pay more for their licence and, when eventually issued, the council has the power to issue a shorter licence lasting less than the standard term of five years.

The council claims it has recently written to the owners of 25 HiMOs that are suspected of operating without a licence.

To date, half of these landlords have submitted a late application and been issued with a full price licence lasting less than the standard five year term.

Eleven of the landlords have not responded and are now being investigated for suspected licensing offences that could lead to them being fined up to £20,000.

Leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Mary Markham (Con, Park), said: “Northampton has many excellent and responsible landlords and we worked closely with them on the new policy through the landlord forum.

“We don’t want to penalise responsible landlords who want to see standards raised just as much as we do – we simply want to ensure that private rented accommodation is safe and fit for purpose. Keeping up to date with HMO licences is an essential part of this.”

Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Stephen Hibbert (Con, Riverside) said one landlord has just paid £650 more for a three year HiMO licence than they would have paid for a five year licence under the old system, by applying for a licence several months late.

“The landlord will be paying almost four times as much over the next five years as they would have done if they had applied for their licence on time,” he said.

More information about the new licensing policy can be found online at: www.northampton.gov.uk/hmo-licensing

Information about the landlord forum can also be found at: www.northampton.gov.uk/landlords-forum