Landlord has 8 HMOs closed after raids

Eight shambolic shared houses were closed down by a HMO task force after raids on properties owned by one landlord in the same town.

The team discovered filthy, overcrowded and dangerous living conditions in the homes in Boston, Lincolnshire.

The raids followed months of trying to persuade the landlord to upgrade his properties without success.

The owner was not named, but is suspected to be a Latvian gangmaster – an employment agent organising labourers for the farming and fishing industries.

The homes were riddled with safety defects, included dangerous wiring, no fire safety precautions.

The inspectors also found evidence the landlord had crammed too many tenants in to the rooms.

The houses also had inadequate, dirty kitchens and bathrooms for the number of tenants.

Nine HMOs were raided. None were licensed by the council.

Eight were closed. As the landlord had applied for planning permission for the ninth, the council will wait to see if permission to turn the home in to an HMO is granted before taking any further action.

The homes are subject of prohibition orders that only allow them to house single families.

Safety failures in HMO

Three tenants complained to Darlington Council about fire and electrical safety in the home they were sharing, which led to landlord Janine Forster admitting failing to comply with an improvement notice to the town’s magistrates.

She was fined £267 with costs of £415.

The court was told the housing improvement notice requiring her to carry out a number of repairs was served in April 2012, but no works were completed.

The council sent workmen to repair the home and a spokesman said that they will request reimbursement from the landlord.

Chris McEwan, Darlington Council’s cabinet member for resources, said: “Landlords have a legal and moral duty to provide protection for their tenants and although we will always try to work with landlords and help them, they will be prosecuted if they fail to adhere to legal requirements.”

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