Landlady could face prosecution

MHBG-24-01-13 Marlborough Place''Marlborough Place, Banbury
MHBG-24-01-13 Marlborough Place''Marlborough Place, Banbury

A LANDLADY is facing possible prosecution for renting her property to too many people, despite repeatedly asking Cherwell District Council to rehouse her tenants.

Angela Green is the landlady of a shared house in Marlborough Place, Banbury. She has been told by the council there is reason to believe she has breached her House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence and she must be interviewed under caution.

In August 2012, a tenant of three years moved his girlfriend and two children, a six-year-old and a two-year-old, into his room.

Miss Green said: “They were going to rent an additional room in the property but the council wouldn’t pay the additional housing benefit until they had an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) which I was told to give them. In August I phoned the council to advise them that the family had been moved in, I was overcrowded and they needed rehousing.

“On October 4 I provided the AST. I specified that rent was to be paid directly to the landlord and it was only a temporary stay. They had both given me notice that they were leaving on October 28 and signed letters confirming this.” Miss Green said the council refused to rehouse the tenants and they were in fact advised to stay in the house.

“I have begged the council to help me out and to rehouse this family who are living in cramped conditions,” she said. “But no, all they tell the tenants is to stay put and let me evict them.

“They have not even been out to assess the living situation. The council were fully aware that my property is only licensed for six people. I now have seven adults and two children living there.”

Up until December, rent payments were made directly to the tenants, leaving Miss Green with £1,425 in rental arrears.

She made numerous phone calls to the council saying she was not receiving payments but was told the account could not be discussed with her.

Last month she received a letter from the council stating an alleged breach of her HMO licence. The next day, her tenants received a letter from the council urging them to stay put.

Miss Green said: “There are so many flaws in this whole case and CDC are ludicrous to even think about prosecuting me, when all they need to do is talk to other departments.”

She has now decided to evict the tenants, which she expects will cost her about £1,200.

Council press officer Tony Ecclestone said: “Ms Green has failed to deal with these issues correctly, despite the advice she has received about how to do so from the council. Being a landlord is a business that is regulated by law and requires a professional approach. None of the problems now faced by Ms Green are of the council’s making, nor are we in a position to remedy them.

“By giving a tenancy to the household in question she had contravened the terms of her HMO licence, which is specific about occupation levels and this remains our principal concern.”