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Needham Market landlord fined after Ipswich property probe revealed 12 occupants, significant disrepair, serious electrical defects and no fire alarm system in place




The landlord of an Ipswich property has been ordered to pay more than £11,500 in fines and costs for a house in multiple occupation (HMO) offence.

Martyn Williams, of Park Road, Needham Market, was convicted and ordered to pay more than £11,500 in fines and legal costs for failing to license a house in multiple occupation (HMO) following a trial at Ipswich Magistrates' Court yesterday.

An investigation into Mr Williams' Reading Road property was launched by Ipswich Borough Council in August 2019 following complaints by neighbours and information from another council.

People were sleeping in an under-stairs cupboard that also had the electrical distribution board. Picture: Ipswich Borough Council
People were sleeping in an under-stairs cupboard that also had the electrical distribution board. Picture: Ipswich Borough Council

This led to Ipswich Borough Council, together with both the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority as well as Suffolk Constabulary, entering the property with a warrant in February 2020.

Ipswich Borough Council found:

  • The property was being occupied by 12 people despite there not being an HMO licence
Reading Road property in Ipswich. Picture: Ipswich Borough Council
Reading Road property in Ipswich. Picture: Ipswich Borough Council
  • People were sleeping in an under-stairs cupboard that also housed the electrical distribution board
  • There was no fire alarm system or fire safety measures and a key would be needed to leave the property
  • A significant amount of disrepair to the property was discovered, including serious electrical defects
A significant amount of disrepair to the property was discovered, including serious electrical defects. Picture: Ipswich Borough Council
A significant amount of disrepair to the property was discovered, including serious electrical defects. Picture: Ipswich Borough Council

Mr Williams entered a guilty plea. He was fined £4,000 (which had been reduced due to his guilty plea) and he was also ordered to pay costs of £7,596.

Ian Blofield, head of housing and community services at Ipswich Borough Council, said: "HMOs must be licensed to both help better ensure the safety and comfort of residents as well as the impact of the property on the area.

"Failure to licence an HMO is an offence. This will be met with enforcement action which can result in a criminal conviction.”

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