An HMO landlord company and its director have been slapped with a huge £68,000 fine for putting students at risk by ignoring vital repairs for years.
Mulberry Real Estate and director David Bryant admitted 11 offences at Cardiff Magistrates Court, including failing to licence two properties as HMOs and carry out repairs to fire doors, escape windows and kitchens.
In July and October 2021, two HMO licences held by Bryant’s company expired for properties on Alfred Street and Arabella Street in Plasnewydd, Cardiff. The licences included conditions requiring the landlord to carry out work to the fire doors, escape windows, and to the kitchens in both properties within three months of the licence being issued.
In 2021 when the licences expired, despite repeated contact by the council, no application was received to renew either licence. Inspections in October 2022 confirmed that both properties needed a new HMO licence and that the works had not been done.
Councillor Lynda Thorne, Cabinet member for housing, said the magistrates had been shocked by evidence presented by the council. “Students were put at risk. The required works hadn’t been completed for seven years,” she adds.
“I hope this sentence sends a firm message to rogue landlords, that the court does take these matters very seriously, as is reflected by the level of the fines issued.”
Mulberry Real Estate was fined £31,995, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £2,000 and costs of £251, while Bryant was fined £36,300, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £2,000 and costs of £251.