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Mortgage advice firm director fined £30k over HMO licence

Mortgage advice firm director fined £30k over HMO licence
  The director and his business partner were found guilty of 16 housing offences

A landlord who is also the director of a mortgage brokerage has been fined just under £30,000 for renting a property without a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence, as well as for breaking other housing laws.

As first reported by Robyn Hall, writing for The Negotiator, Richard Collins, director of advice firm Quay Mortgage Services in Chester, along with his business partner, Jayne McGuinness, have been fined £28,000 by Flintshire County Court for operating a HMO without a licence.

They have also been fined a further £1,640 in additional costs, taking the total fine to £29,640.

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Back in January 2022, an inspection was carried out at a property in Hawarden, a village in Wales. It revealed that the house was being operated as a licensable HMO with five occupiers.

In total, Collins and McGuinness were found guilty of 16 housing offences.

Neither attended the recent court hearing where the fine, along with the additional costs, was handed down.

Collins also runs RVC Estates. According to Companies House, his occupation is a ‘financial adviser’. 

However, Collins’ registration with the Financial Conduct Authority lapsed earlier this month, on October 14.

Up to that point, he was an appointed representative of The Right Mortgage Limited. 

Collins' mortgage firm, Quay Mortgage Services, states on its website that it remains an appointed representative of The Right Mortgage Limited however, trading under TRN Adviser Ltd. 

A spokesman for The Right Mortgage Ltd, however, said this was no longer the case.

FTAdviser contacted Quay to ask whether TRN Adviser was still an AR or not of The Right Mortgage Network, but have not yet received confirmation either way.

From October 2012 until April of this year, Collins was an appointed representative for HL Partnership Limited, which was the responsible principal firm for Quay Mortgage Services, from October 2012 until April of this year.

The Quay Mortgage Services website lists Collins as the director and founder of the firm. 

It says: “Richard Collins has a great deal of knowledge in the finance industry which is passed down in training his team.

“Richard has been trained in banking since he was only 17 gaining all the relevant finance and banking qualifications then later decided to specialise in the mortgage market.

“Richard Collins title is MLIA (dip) Ce-Map, which displays his attitude to being qualified over and above the regulatory standard for being able to advise in this area.”

On the fine, announced earlier this week (October 24), Flintshire’s cabinet member for planning, public health and public protection Chris Bithell said: “This successful prosecution sends a clear message that the council will protect its residents from rogue landlords who operate unlicensed HMOs and do not comply with the Rent Smart Wales laws designed to protect tenants.” 

Bithell added that the decision reflects Flintshire’s commitment to ensuring homes in the private rented sector are properly managed.

FTAdviser approached Quay Mortgage Services for comment, but was unable to reach Collins directly for comment. 

jane.matthews@ft.com