A PROPERTY company has been fined £2,000 after renting out an extra room.
Red Vista Property Ltd was prosecuted at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after the firm leased a four-bed room as a five-bed.
We did not deliberately set out to breach the terms of the licenceRed Vista director Danny Moore
Director Danny Moore pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to knowingly allowing more tenants to occupy a property in Gains Road, Southsea, than the property is licensed for between October 15 last year and January 1. It was a breach of Portsmouth City Council’s home of multiple occupancy licence and the authority brought the prosecution.
Victoria Putnam, prosecuting, told magistrates: ‘It was advertised as a four-bedroom property with a lounge by Tenant Network and Red Vista rented that property.
‘Red Vista, as I understand, effectively rents across Hampshire which they individually sub-let rooms to professionals. The firm rented the house as a whole at £895 a month and then sub-let all five rooms instead of four at £450 a month.’
It was only when the home was inspected that five tenants were found.
The offence was committed between October 15 last year and January 9.
Red Vista initially said it thought the property was licensed for five bedrooms.
But Ms Putnam said the council holds a publicly-available record of licenses and Red Vista, based in Aldwick Road, Bognor Regis, was one of only two companies to request it, meaning it should have known.
Mr Moore, representing the ‘fledgling’ company in court, said the firm accepts responsibility and the property had not been visited.
He said: ‘We did not deliberately set out to breach the terms of the licence.’
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Jonathan Bound fined Red Vista £2,000, with £500 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
Red Vista appeared in court in July. Tenant Network, of London Road, Portsmouth, pleaded not guilty to the same charge between January 9 and April 14 and the case was discontinued. The council brought in tougher licensing rules on landlords with multiple-occupancy homes.
Councillor Steve Wemyss, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: ‘The Additional Licensing Scheme increases the quality of thousands of privately rented properties and helps the council to protect the minority of tenants plagued by these issues.’