Large fine for unlicensed Rother landlord

Another landlord has been hit with a substantial fine for failing to licence an HMO.Ryan Antony Otto, a director of Otto Investments Ltd based in London, was fined by Hastings magistrates for failing to licence a house in multiple occupation and failing to comply with two Improvement Notices issued by Rother district council.

Otto converted a two-bedroom house into five bedsits and charged tenants between £370 to £470 a month each.

In 2018, the landlord was told he must apply for a House of Multiple Occupancy license for the property as it had five tenants, but his application was refused because the council deemed that he was not a fit and proper person.Otto was advised to reduce the number of tenants or find another person to manage the property but failed to do so.

Following a complaint from a tenant about the condition of the property in March 2021, council officers inspected the property and served notices requiring Mr Otto to make repairs and improvement to areas including a unfit toilet/shower article and electrical installation that had not been inspected and tested.

Now Otto has been Otto was fined £6,000 for running an unlicensed HMO and £3,000 for breaching Rother District Council’s improvement notices. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £190 and cover the council’s costs which totalled £3,705.

A council spokesperson says: “This prosecution is a good result for private tenants in Rother and for the council. It clearly shows that our officers have the expertise and the will to pursue and prosecute private landlords who offer unsafe and sub-standard accommodation for rent on the private market.

“We are committed to raising standards in this sector and have several schemes to help landlords achieve these. We always prefer to work with landlords but if we do not get the required level of co-operation we will prosecute.”

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