A rogue Somerset landlord has been fined £5,500 following a successful prosecution by Mendip District Council.

The council’s private sector housing team brought a civil case against the landlord – whose name has not been released to the press – after they were found to have operated a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) without a licence.

The property in question – the location of which has not been disclosed – was found during a formal investigation to be “lacking adequate fire detection”, putting the residents at undue risk.

Councillor Richard Pinnock said: “While we always prefer to work with landlords and support them to achieve the required standards and meet their legal obligations, we will not shy away from taking strong enforcement action and applying sanctions where they are needed.

“We are satisfied with this outcome and hope this sends a strong message to deter other landlords from breaching their duties.

“We have a responsibility to protect tenants and ensure homes are safe, and our statutory duties allow us to take robust action when landlords are not adhering to the law.”

The council said it hoped the prosecution would deter other landlords, adding that advice and support was available for other HMO operators.

An HMO is a dwelling which has been sub-divided to allow multiple individuals or families to rent bedrooms while sharing communal facilities, such as the kitchen, bathroom and garden.

All HMOs have to meet government standards under the Housing Act 2004, with those containing more than five households requiring a licence from the local council to be able to operate.

The council’s investigation found that the property had been without the appropriate licence for 22 months, during which time up to six people were living there.

After extensive investigations, the council imposed a £5,500 fine on the landlord – with a warning that they could be banned from renting out properties if any further offences came to light in the future.