Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago 36
I have received an invitation from my local council to attend a PACE interview regarding an allegation of running an unlicensed HMO.
A few weeks ago, there was an ‘inspection’ but I would call it a raid conducted by the police, immigration authorities, and environmental health officer at my property. Several doors were kicked in and the occupants there at the time were all interviewed and fingerprinted
At the time of the ‘inspection’ it was reported that 6 people were there.
I understand the rules about HMOs and I don’t believe my property is one based on the fact that I let the house out to a family of 2 brothers and their dad, and 1 single person. There are 2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms and 2 reception rooms that they share and then they each have their own bedrooms. Out of the 6 people that were interviewed, only one was my tenant and the other 5 were apparently friends of my family of tenants who as it transpires have gone away and decided to let their mates stay in their place.
I have since removed the 5 ‘guests’ by asking them kindly to leave as they do not have my permission to live there. Thankfully they left with minimal fuss and so I am now left with 1 tenant and the car of the family that have left (rent up to date until 2 weeks ago) on the drive.
I am sick with worry because although it seems easy to clear up, I’m scared that I will be prosecuted. I have copies of the 2 tenancy agreements for the family and single person. I have had complaints from the neighbours about the number of people in and out of the house and I have visited each time to sort it out. The answer I always got was that it was just friends visiting and each time I clearly said there can’t be more than 4 tenants staying at the house.
It’s my word against the findings of the police and I really think I’ll tie myself up in knots if I attend the interview.
Can anyone advise me if it’s possible to just forward an explanation or statement via email with copies of the tenancy agreements instead of attending the voluntary interview or perhaps advise on how best to deal with the situation please?
I’m really worried!
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