Hefty fine warning to rogue home landlords

editorial image

A former NHS nurse has been fined £18,515 after admitting failing to get a licence for housing tenants and for breaching safety rules.

Shirley Bunker, 54, of Washington Avenue, Hemel Hempstead, had been renting her property without ensuring legal fire and food safety standards were met and proper amenities were provided.

When she appeared at St Albans Crown Court she was fined £7,000 for operating a house in multiple occupation (HMO) without a licence and £500 for each of the five separate offences under the HMO management regulations.

She was taken to court by Dacorum Borough Council under the Housing Act 2004 and The Management of Houses in Multiple Regulations 2006.

The council said in the face of being labelled a ‘slum landlady’ by the prosecution Mrs Bunker, represented by counsel, had claimed she was a kind landlady whose generosity had been taken advantage of by others.

After the case the council’s environmental protection and housing team leader Nicholas Egerton said: “In order to obtain a licence to operate a HMO, Mrs Bunker would have needed to carry out works to her property to ensure it was suitable to rent to tenants.

“Despite many warnings, Mrs Bunker did not apply for a licence or carry out these works.

“The council takes the safety of tenants in the private rented sector very seriously.

“We hope this sends a strong message to any private sector landlords who might be tempted to cut corners at the expense of tenants’ safety.”

The overall costs Mrs Bunker faces also included a £9,000 contribution towards prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.