AN out-of-work company director has been fined £10,000 by York magistrates for failing to get the correct landlord’s licence for a property he rented out.

A housing officer found nine people living in Darren Avey’s three-storey, nine-bedroom building in Paddock Chase, Heslington, when he visited on March 3, 2014, said Joseph Ghirardello.

The officer had warned Avey, 49, in May 2012 that he needed a “house in multiple occupation” licence if he had more than four tenants in the same building.

He arranged an invitation for Avey to a landlord fair where he could get advice about landlord regulations and other letting matters.

Questioned under caution, Avey said he had not got a licence because he was waiting for the result of a planning application for the property.

On August 15, there were still nine people living in the property.

Houses in multiple occupation needed to be licensed so they could be checked to ensure the accommodation was safe for the tenants, said Mr Ghirardello.

Avey told magistrates: “I don’t believe my actions and my conduct in this matter deserve to result in prosecution. City of York Council’s conduct in relation to this matter has been, in my opinion, a lot worse than mine.”

He claimed the council had delayed dealing with his planning application for a change of use on the property and told him he needed to make a planning application when he did not.

He handed in documents he said were the planning application he had submitted in May 2012.

But Mr Ghirardello said council records showed no planning or licence applications for the property from anyone until Avey submitted one in September 2014.

Avey, of Main Street, Holtby, pleaded guilty to not having a licence and was fined £10,000 plus a £120 statutory surcharge and £1,755 prosecution costs.

Mr Ghirardello said tenants in the nine-bedroom property were paying between £380 and £500 a month and that, on average, Avey was receiving £3,600 rent a month from them.

Avey said it was the first time he had rented out a property.

He was currently out of work, having had to leave work in Hong Kong when there were demonstrations there earlier this year.

A house in multiple occupation licence for a property with nine tenants costs £910 including a “fit and proper person” check on the applicant.

Avey, who has served as a company director in more than one company, withdrew his application to change the property’s use to a house in multiple occupation on November 4.

He claims he did so on council advice.