A private landlord and a lettings agent have been fined for managing an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). They were found guilty and have been given large fines by Islington Council in London.
The prosecution was brought to light following a complaint from one of the tenants of the property.
On inspection of the property, a senior environmental health officer discovered up to eight unrelated occupants sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities.
The property was also not in a good state of repair, with multiple broken items found, including a bedroom window with no glass and no working fire detection system. There were also significant fire risks, including a cracked electrical plug in the living room, and no fire blanket provided in the kitchen.
What were the fines?
The landlord, Kuppusami Selvarajan, from Ilford in Essex, was found guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court and fined £8,500.
The property management agency, S3A Management, pleaded guilty and was fined £7,650.
The defendants were also ordered to pay the council’s legal costs, which came to £5,773. This brings the total of these figures to £22,023.
The tenants are also now able to claim back rent they have paid for living at the property, via a Rent Repayment Order.
Islington Councillor comments
Councillor Diarmaid Ward, executive member for housing and development at Islington, said: “London is facing a massive housing crisis and this has put many people on lower incomes at risk of exploitation. Everyone has the right to safe, genuinely affordable housing, and Islington will not tolerate dodgy operators taking advantage of people’s desperate need for a home.
“It’s unacceptable for landlords to rake in rent from vulnerable people living in rundown, unsafe spaces, and where we find unacceptable conditions we will act to protect tenants.”
Are you worried about your property needing a HMO license? Read more details on the new HMO licensing regulations, or apply for one via the government website.