In a recent matter we were instructed by a client who was being prosecuted by the local authority for the condition of his HMOs. He contacted us at a very early stage, shortly after giving an interview to the local authority.
Advice and action taken:
We first wrote to the local authority giving detailed reasons as to why they should not prosecute based of their own enforcement policy. However, they elected to continue the matter.
As a result a summons was served.
On considering this summons it was clear that it was incorrect to such a degree that the local authority could not simply ask the Court to correct it. This was because the summons named our client as an individual even though the properties were owned through a company.
A letter to the local authority pointing out their errors and referring them to the relevant law lead to the summons being withdrawn immediately and the matter being dropped.
Two things emerged from this issue.
The first is that the client was less than clear as to the ownership structure of his own properties!
The good news was that he had expressed this poorly to the council in interview and instead of checking themselves they had just gone ahead and issued the summonses anyway.
The second issue is that early action saved a lot of time and effort.
By approaching us very early in the process we were able to make a small but vital intervention without incurring large amount of legal cost which lead to the matter being dropped.
Further HMO resources:
Advice: If you need some legal advice, for example if you have been interviewed by your Local Authority and need advice, you can use our ‘HMO Hotline‘ telephone advice service.
Training: Easy Law Training has regular workshops on HMO Law & Practice. You can read about these >> here (you will need to scroll down to find out the dates).