A woman who took in homeless young men, including ex-offenders, has been fined for failing to license her home as a House in Multiple Occupation.
Julie Stoddern, 44, of Camborne, Cornwall, who housed around ten youngsters at her home, had been dubbed ‘super mum’ by the local press, was the subject of a BBC film, and had spoken of her dream of setting up a charity to help troubled youngsters.
But after inspections by council officials she ended up at Truro Magistrates’ Court where pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a prohibition notice and not registering her property as an HMO.
She was fined £500 with £4,000 in costs.
In April, she was issued with a prohibition notice concerning the use of an attic room with no stair banisters. The notice also limited occupation of her home to herself and four others.
Stoddern told the court that the council had known for years how many people lived at her home, and taxpayers’ money used to prosecute her would be better spent on helping the kids that she was looking after.
The magistrates said they understood and admired her motives, but the rules were there for the safety of residents.
Prosecutor Kevin Hill told the court that Cornwall County Council’s private housing sector team had visited the house after reports from the police of over-crowding at the address.
Defending, Elliot Moore said that Stoddern had not been aware of the need to license the premises. He told the court that in 2011 Stoddern had received an award for her work with the young men.
She provided them with accommodation, got them on college courses and put some stability into their lives.
After the hearing, Cllr Mark Kaczmarek, cabinet member for housing and planning at Cornwall Council, said: “This case highlights that there are still some landlords who are operating licensable houses in multiple occupation without a licence despite the requirements being in place for over six years.”