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Inverness landlord fined £2,000 for unlicensed HMO

Inverness Castle
Inverness Castle

An Inverness landlord has been fined £2,000 for operating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence.

Ken Mack, owner of the property at 47 Montague Row, pled guilty to the charge at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday.

The prosecution follows an investigation by Highland Council environmental health officers following complaints from Mack’s tenants.

An HMO is a property in which three or more unrelated adults reside as their main residence and need to share a kitchen, toilet and personal washing facilities.

Officers visited the property concerned at Montague Row and established that there were five residents staying there, and that the property failed to meet the council’s adopted standards for HMOs.

Despite repeated attempts to get Mack to licence the property and meet these standards, he failed to engage with the investigating officers and continued to operate without a licence.

Councillor Ian Cockburn, chairman of the Licensing Committee, said: “Ultimately the HMO licensing scheme was introduced to protect tenants and help ensure properties are safe, and so it is important that the council takes action to protect tenants in these cases.

“I am pleased that in imposing this level of fine the court has reflected the importance of licensing and that owners should not seek to avoid applying. Therefore, I would encourage both landlords and tenants to contact the council if they have any concerns about their property. Officers are here to help.”

Gregor MacCormick, senior environmental health officer, said: “We hope that the significant fine imposed in this case sends out a strong message to landlords that they must be licensed if their property is being occupied as an HMO.

“The Council considers it important to demonstrate to responsible landlords who have made the effort to comply with the legislation and bring their properties up to the required standard, that less responsible landlords are actively being pursued.

“The Environmental Health Service will continue to take action against those landlords who do not apply, so I would urge all owners and agents to ensure that their properties are meeting legal requirements.”

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