North Wales landlord ordered to pay back almost £48,000 housing benefit


Staff reporter (NW Pioneer)

A NORTH Wales Council is set to reclaim £47,988.50 in housing benefit paid to a landlord over a 12-month period.

Earlier this year, Mark Thorogood of Townsend House, Beaumaris was convicted of failing to licence his properties as HMOs.  Landlords who operate a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence may have to repay housing benefit.

Conwy County Borough Council applied for a Rent Repayment Order to reclaim money paid to Mark Thorogood in housing benefit; the application related to six properties in Llandudno and amounted to almost £48,000.

The Residential Property Tribunal Wales assessed the case at a hearing in St Asaph on 7 October 2015 to determine whether a Rent Repayment Order should be awarded and the value of repayment.

The panel were satisfied that the Council had complied with the legal requirements before making the application to the Residential Property Tribunal.  Mr. Thorogood confirmed that the Authority had acted correctly.

Mr Thorogood has until noon on Friday, 12th February 2015 to pay the money back to Conwy County Borough Council.

Cllr Philip Evans, Conwy’s Cabinet Member for Regulation, said, “We believe this is the largest Rent Repayment Order to be awarded in Wales and the third largest in England and Wales.

“Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is important because it raises management, safety and amenity standards, thereby protecting both the tenants and the local community. Poor standards in rented properties can have adverse effects on neighbourhoods and spoil the quality of life for others.

“This case should send a clear message to all landlords that we will take action if they fail to apply to licence an HMO, and we will seek to recover housing benefit paid when they were operating an HMO outside the law.” 

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