Local Authority withdraw prosecution in HMO licensing case

February 13, 2017

Stuart Jessop represented a Landlord/ Managing Agent summonsed in a Local Authority prosecution against him for alleged breaches of his House in Multiple Occupation ( HMO) Licence. There had already been connected proceedings under section 179(1) and (2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for breach of an enforcement notice against the property owner. In that connected trial the owner had been required to cease the use of the property as self contained flats, as it was asserted by the Local Authority that the lawful planning use was as a single family dwelling.

The agent in this HMO case was being required by the Local Authority to comply with obligations pursuant to an HMO licence when in fact the use of that property for that purpose had already been said by the prosecutor to be contrary to its authorised use. Stuart argued that the proceedings should be stayed as an abuse of process. The prosecution did not concede this point but under their continuing duty to consider the public interest in prosecutions they withdrew the case.