A landlord of a shared house has been given a record fine for running the property without a licence.

Sarah Jordan, landlord of 32 Stroudley Road in Brighton, has been fined a city record £20,000 for an unlicensed HMO.

A second landlord, Gagandeep Sethi who owns 50 Carlyle Avenue, has also been handed a £14,000 fine after both failed to attend Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court this week.

Council officials said Sethi made multiple attempts to avoid licensing and eventually submitted a plea of guilty by post but offered no reasons for his refusal to follow the rules.

Both have also been ordered to pay costs of £750, a criminal courts charge of £150 and £120 victim surcharge.

The fines are the heaviest yet under the additional licensing scheme launched by Brighton and Hove City Council in November 2012 initially covering five wards in the city and extended last month to include seven more wards.

Councillor Anne Meadows, chairwoman of the council’s housing and new homes committee, said: “This sends out a strong message that landlords of shared homes or houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) should license their properties where a licence is required.

“The worst HMOs are some of the most dangerous properties so it’s right that we take action to protect our residents.

“I am pleased that in imposing this level of fines the court has reflected the importance of licensing and that owners should not seek to avoid applying.”