A shared service delivering Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards across Bracknell Forest Council and West Berkshire Council

Facebook     Twitter

14 March 2024 - Press Release - Property owner convicted for overcrowded HMO

Mr Gurung was penalised £3,000 in total. He was fined £800 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs plus a £200 victim surcharge.

Mr Gurung was prosecuted following an investigation by officers from the Public Protection Partnership’s  (PPP) Environmental Health Housing Team supported by the Joint Case Management Unit.  

The PPP did an unannounced visit to a property on 31 January 2023 after receiving reports of a possible unlicensed HMO. 13 people were found in the two storey house which has a semi converted loft. Seven rooms were being used as bedrooms, and the occupants were sharing one bathroom and separate toilet. There was a young couple with a toddler sharing one bedroom and man in his 90s with obvious medical needs in another bedroom, which he shared with his elderly wife and a male relative. 

Alongside the obvious overcrowding, various housing hazards were present including a poorly built lean-to being used as a communal area and a very narrow set of stairs to a loft conversation where rodent droppings were found. A gas boiler flue vented into the lean-to instead of outside. There was no central heating, forcing occupants to use plug in electrical heaters or oil filled radiators. Together with other electrical hazards and a gas canister stored in the kitchen, there was a high fire risk. 

Commenting on the case, Damian James Bracknell Forest Council’s Assistant Director for Contract Services , said: “We work closely with landlords and support them to meet their legal obligations. However, we do not shy away from taking legal and enforcement action when needed. We hope the outcome of this case sends a strong message to other landlords who breach their duties.”

If you suspect a premise may be an unlicensed HMO please contact the PPP Housing Team on 1635 503242 or email ehadvice@westberks.gov.uk

West Berkshire