Landlord prosecuted and fined for operating unlicensed HMO

A landlord who has been operating a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence has been fined £5000 at a prosecution brought by Chesterfield Borough Council.

An officer from the council’s private sector housing team carried out an inspection at the property on 24 November 2020 which confirmed the house was being operated as a licensable HMO, but the owner had not applied for a licence.

At a hearing held on 6 December 2021 at Derby Magistrates Court, Mr Andrew William Docherty, of Hill View Road, Brimington, pleaded guilty to a charge of operating a licensable HMO without a licence under section 72(1) of the Housing Act 2004.

Magistrates issued a fine of £5000 for operating a licensable HMO without a licence.  Mr Docherty was also ordered to pay the council’s costs of more than £1000 and pay a victim surcharge of £190.

Councillor Chris Ludlow, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Our private sector housing team work to protect those living in the private housing sector. We will take legal action against landlords and agents who let unlicensed HMOs or who rent properties that fall below the required standards. This prosecution should be seen as a strong warning to landlords across the borough, that they must comply with the rules or face the consequences.”

The licensing of certain HMOs enables the council to check property conditions and take action where housing and management standards are not met. In addition, checks are made to ensure licence holders and persons involved in the management of these properties are fit and proper to do so. Failing to license a licensable HMO is an offence and can put the health and safety of tenants at risk.

If a property is occupied by five or more people in two or more households (including students or a group on one tenancy agreement) it will require a House in Multiple Occupation licence. If you think a property you own or live in may need a licence, please report it to the Private Sector Housing Team by emailing:

First published on 10 December 2021 Last updated on 30 December 2021