Law gavel

Landlord put “profit before safety”

The owner of a house where eight people were living told a court he had not intended it to be used for multiple occupation.

Neil Patrick Doyle, aged 32 of North Mossley Hill Road was found guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court of operating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO without a licence and breaches of the management regulations aimed at protecting tenants from injury in the event of fire.

He was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,840.

In July last year a complaint was received by Liverpool City Council’s Healthy Homes from a tenant of a house in Duncombe Road South that water was leaking through the lights in the kitchen ceiling .

When officers inspected the property, four bedroom three storey terrace house, they found there were eight people living there some even sleeping on mattresses on the floor. They also found that many of the fire doors were damaged and would not offer the 30 minutes protection required in the event of a fire.

The property was not licensed as an HMO and no application had been received.

When interviewed Mr Doyle maintained that the property was let to one tenant only, a letting agent called Incity Ltd and that he had not intended it to be used as an HMO. He said that he was the landlord and manager, that Incity were not engaged as a managing agent and that he was not aware that the property had been let to eight individuals but when he had found out he had told Incity to re-house them.

In Court it was said that Mr Doyle had visited the property once in the time he had let it out to Incity Ltd , that he did not know that it was a letting agent and had done no checks other than financial ones to see that it was a viable company that could pay.

In sentencing District Judge Wendy Lloyd stated that this was fundamentally about safety. She said that Mr Doyle was managing the property but had been prepared to sit back and take the profit without doing anything

Incity Ltd and its Managing Director Jan Francek had previously pleaded guilty and been fined a total of £6,000 with costs of £2000.

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, cabinet member for housing, said; “This legislation was brought in to protect tenants. You are 16 times more likely to die in a fire in this type of accommodation than in a house or flat for a single family and landlords must realise that they can’t abdicate their responsibilities over letting their property.”


Liverpool Waterfront