A father and son from Dudley, West Midlands have been sentenced for failing to license a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HIMO).

On 28th April 2009 while working at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC), theEHP visited the Central Dudley property to carry out an inspection. The property was owned by the father and managed by his son.

The property was a three storey end terraced house that had 7 rooms, 2 bathrooms, a dining room and a kitchen.

Both father and son were present at the inspection throughout which they were very aggressive and obstructive.

They insisted that the property was not a HIMO because it was only occupied by 4 tenants. Access was provided to 4 rooms. They claimed that they did not have keys to the remaining 3 room, all of which they claimed were empty.

During the inspection observations were made that suggested that some of the rooms they claimed were empty were occupied. For example, a mat with footwear on it was observed outside one of the rooms they claimed was empty.

The inspection was later abandoned because the father and son continued to be aggressive and obstructive.

After obtaining a warrant theEHP returned to the property a week later together with a Dudley EHP (Environmental Health Practitioner), two Police Officers and a locksmith.

While only one tenant was home, all rooms were accessed with the aid of the locksmith.

Photographic evidence was gathered that suggested the property was occupied by 9 persons living in 7 households. All the rooms within the property appeared to be occupied.

Dudley MBC prosecuted the father and son. Both pleaded guilty to offences under the Housing Act 2004 for failing to license a licensable HIMO and Regulation 3 of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 for failing to display the owner’s information. The father was ordered to pay £1,908.50 in costs and his son £1,500.

A license application has since been submitted and Dudley MBC is currently considering the application.