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Rogue Landlord Fined £9,000 After Fire Revealed Hazards in Illegal HMO

Published on: 30 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 2 Oct, 2020

Not the house in Woodbridge Road

A rogue landlord has been fined £9,038 at Guildford magistrates’ court for operating an illegal House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), a dwelling shared by five or more unrelated adults.

David Wilce, owner of 30 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, was prosecuted by the council’s Private Sector Housing officers after a fire at the house.

The officers found the three-storey building, home to six people, failed to meet HMO standards, including smoke alarms which didn’t work, out-of-date fire equipment and no heat and smoke alarms in rooms containing cooking equipment.

Cllr Caroline Reeves

Cllr Caroline Reeves, lead for Housing and Development Control, said: “We follow the compulsory HMO licensing scheme to protect tenants and improve the quality of privately-rented homes. It is essential we take action over serious breaches of the law, to protect the health and wellbeing of tenants.

“Responsible landlords who comply with the legislation have had their efforts rewarded by this case, with a clear message that we are actively pursuing less responsible landlords.

“I encourage landlords and tenants to contact us if they have any concerns about their own or a neighbouring house.”

Cllr Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) added: “We will not hesitate to take enforcement action where the health, safety and wellbeing of tenants is at risk.”

If you have any concerns over a property which may be being used illegally as an HMO, or one that poses a risk to residents’ health, please contact Regulatory Services on 01483 505050 or visit

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