A Newquay landlord has been fined £4,000 by Truro Magistrates for operating a mandatory licensable house in multiple occupation (HMO) at the town’s Sutherland Hotel without a licence.

Godfrey Furse pleaded guilty to the charge, which was brought by Cornwall Cornwall after fire precautions were found to be in disrepair and cooking facilities were lacking. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1260.10 and a £120 victim surcharge.

This is the second time a landlord has been prosecuted for failing to have a licence by the council’s private sector housing team in the space of a week. As a result of the prosecutions the two owners have been fined a total of £24,000.

Mandatory licensing was introduced by the Government in 2006 to improve regulation of premises meeting this definition. Often they are occupied by the most vulnerable people in society, who, due to poor standards of management and safety were statistically at greater risks from hazards such as fire and communicable illnesses due to the sharing of facilities.

During the inspection the property was confirmed to be operating as a mandatory licensable HMO without a licence. In addition fire precautions were in disrepair, cooking facilities were lacking and there were concerns regarding the standards of management placing the health, safety and welfare of the occupiers at risk.

All these matters would have been controlled through the terms and conditions of a licence had the owners applied as legally required. Following this action the Council is inviting landlords who are currently operating mandatory licensable properties without a licence to come forward and licence in order to ensure that they comply with the legislation.

“We are aware of other HMOs meeting the mandatory licensing definition who are currently operating within Cornwall without a licence” said Joe Roberts, the Council’s Private Sector Housing Manager.

“These premises will shortly be prioritised for enforcement action and work is ongoing to identify more.