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There are a wide variety of enforcement options available to local authorities:
·        A local authority can revoke a licence at any time, if the owner or agent are no longer suitable (e.g. as not fit and proper), the living accommodation is no longer suitable and cannot be made so by varying the licence conditions, or any condition of licence has been breached.  
·        A local authority can vary the terms of a licence at any time.     
·        When an HMO is not licensed or a condition is breached, the local authority can make a rent suspension order in relation to the HMO.
·        The local authority may decide to require a licence holder to take action to rectify or prevent a breach of a licence condition. 
·        A local authority can serve an HMO amenity notice, whether the HMO is licensed or not, requiring work to make an HMO fit for occupation by a specified number of people.
·        A local authority has a general power, in order to enable or assist it to exercise its functions under the Act, to require a person owning, occupying or receiving rent in respect of land or premises to provide information about the land or premises, including the nature of that person’s interest and the name and address of any other person with an interest.  When this is done to establish whether there is a licensable HMO on the land or premises, the notice may also require the person to state their relationship to other occupants.
·        A local authority has a right of entry to any land or premises for the purpose of enforcing the HMO licensing regime, which is enforceable by court warrant. 

5.2.2   In addition to the authority’s own enforcement powers, authorities should compile evidence in relation to suspected unlicensed HMOs or other HMO offences to support any prosecution that may be initiated by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).  The relevant penalties and offences are as follows:
·        The maximum fine for operating an HMO without a licence (for the HMO owner or agent) is currently £50,000. In addition the court may disqualify the owner from holding a licence for up to five years, and may disqualify an agent from acting as an agent for a licence holder for up to five years.
·        It is an offence for the licence holder or agent to permit any person to occupy the HMO while a requirement is in effect.  The maximum fine is £10,000.
·        The maximum fine for a licence holder who breaches a licence condition or authorises an agent who is not specified in the licence and for an agent who causes a licence condition to be breached, is set at £10,000.
·        The maximum fine for an HMO owner who represents an expired HMO licence as still being in effect, and for a person who prevents or obstructs someone exercising the local authority’s right of entry for various purposes is £1,000.
·        Failure to provide information or providing false information is an offence with a maximum fine of Level 2 on the standard scale.

5.2.3   Local authorities may develop their own policies for enforcement of the HMO licensing regime.  It is however suggested that the authority should take into account the suggestions that follow:

5.2.4   In many cases where an unlicensed HMO is identified, local authorities should consider contacting the owner to inform them of the licensing requirement and request that they submit a licence application within a set period of time e.g. 14 days.

5.2.5   Any additional enforcement action to be taken will depend on the circumstances, in particular whether there are any occupiers of the property and whether there are any risks to their safety and security or the property is otherwise unsuitable for them to occupy.

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