HMO inspectors discover cannabis factory and four unlicensed houses during sweep of 76 properties across North Northamptonshire
A crackdown on unlawful households of multiple occupancy uncovered a number of illicit properties as well as a cannabis factory.
North Northamptonshire Council have been tightening up the rules around HMOs in recent months, and have already announced a change in the rules on estates where they have become a particular problem, following a two-year Northants Telegraph campaign.
Council officers joined police in Kettering, Wellingborough and East Northants to target 76 suspicious properties to try to make communities safer.
Of the houses inspected during the week of action, four were discovered to be unlicensed, 68 didn’t require a licence because of their size, while four are still being investigated. One property was being used as a cannabis factory.
HMO landlords have to meet certain regulatory requirements and HMOs with five or more tenants need to be licensed. HMOs that are poorly managed and badly maintained can put an extra burden on local services and have a negative impact on an area.
A penalty of up to £30,000, plus a repayment of rent order, may be imposed if a landlord is operating without a licence.
The council is urging landlords who have yet to register their HMO to apply for the relevant licence. Residents who suspect an unlicensed HMO in their area can email [email protected]. This can be done anonymously.
Executive member for housing Cllr Mark Rowley (Con, Ise) said: “It’s important that authorised officers of the council identify and inspect unregulated HMOs and tackle those landlords that choose to ignore the law, so that these properties can be properly managed moving forward and to ensure the safety of tenants which is paramount.
"This week of action has been successful and future planned ones will continue.’’
Police Neighbourhood Inspector for Corby and Kettering Paul Cash said: “The partnership working we do is so important in supporting a good quality of life for our communities.
“Joining these visits enabled us to support the HMO team, building partnerships while identifying any criminal activity and supporting and safeguarding any vulnerable people.
“At one address in Kettering we also located a cannabis grow which is now being investigated, and I’m sure its removal is a relief to all who will have been affected by it.”