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Property management company and its director fined for failure to license House in Multiple Occupation

News release from 11/11/2020

CAMBRIDGE City Council has successfully prosecuted a property management  company and the company’s director for failure to license a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Cambridge. 

Following an investigation by Cambridge City Council regarding a large house in multiple occupation on Cherry Hinton Road, it was determined that London based property management company, Simple Properties London Ltd and its company director, Santiago Jose Hidalgo Ferrin, had failed to license this 20-bedroom HMO, which had been operating under their control without the necessary mandatory HMO licence since at least October 2018. 

The case was heard at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on 23 September. Neither a representative of the company nor Mr Ferrin attended court and both were found guilty of the offences in their absence.   

The HMO is a significant 20-bedroom property with shared amenities which has a further four rooms in an outbuilding within the boundaries of the property. The failure to respond to numerous communications from the council and failure to obtain the necessary HMO licence showed complete lack of compliance and not complying with requirements in respect of safeguarding occupiers. 

Simple Properties London Ltd were fined £12,000 with costs of £1,968 and a victim surcharge of £181 and the Mr Ferrin, was fined £12,000 plus costs of £2,706 and a victim surcharge of £181. 

Simple Properties London Ltd and its director are no longer associated with the property and a mandatory HMO licence has been issued to the new management. 

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “This successful prosecution will set an example to the small minority of landlords and property agents who break the law and put their tenants at risk. 

“HMO Licensing is a way of ensuring that properties within the private rented sector meet with safety and suitability standards to be rented out.  The fact that Simple Properties London Ltd and its director failed to submit an HMO licence application showed blatant disregard for the Law.  

“Adequate housing conditions are important to protect the health and safety of occupiers of rented accommodation and we will continue to take necessary enforcement action where landlords or property managers who operate in this manner within the city and fail to comply with the law.” 

Tenants of privately rented properties within Cambridge who have concerns about the condition or management of the property they are renting, or the fact that it may require a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence should contact the Residential Team within Environmental Health at Cambridge City Council.   

The team is available to assist tenants throughout the lockdown period and can be contacted by phone on 01223 457900 or the Duty Officer can be emailed at residential.eh@cambridge.gov.uk.