A rogue Wembley landlord has been fined almost £7,500 for cramming six families into an unlicensed, semi-detached house.
A mother and her two children shared one bedroom
Willesden Magistrates’ Court was told that Mohammed Mehdi Ali, of Barn Hill in Wembley, had not bothered to license his property, which was built as a four-bedroom family home. It now has six bedsit-style rooms and a shared kitchen and bathroom.
A raid by council enforcement officers found that 16 people were living in the house, including at least six children. Each of the rooms were let to a different family or group, with each only having their bedroom as living space, as the living room was being used as another bedroom. The tenants shared just one bathroom and two toilets between them.
The situation was only made worse by Mr. Ali’s blatant disregard of basic fire safety measures. Despite earning at least £2,300 per month in rent from the property, the Wembley landlord had not installed adequate smoke alarms or fire doors.
It also emerged that Mr. Ali lives next door to the rented house, something the court considered to be an aggravating factor in the case, as he would have been fully aware of what was going on in his property.
As he did not attend court, Mr. Ali was convicted in his absence of offences under the Housing Act 2004, and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,318 and a victim surcharge of £170 – a total of £7,488.
The Wembley landlord had used a letting agent, Easy Let Homes, to collect rent on his behalf. The company pleaded guilty to offences under the Housing Act 2004, and was fined £450 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £45. The court said that it had taken the company’s full cooperation into account.
Councillor Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Lead Member for Housing, comments on the case: “Given the serious overcrowding and poor fire safety in this house, we could easily be reflecting on a much more serious crime here.
“The contempt Mr. Ali has shown for this legal process by not even bothering to turn up for sentencing speaks volumes. The vast majority of landlords and letting agents in Brent are honest and law abiding, but we take a zero tolerance approach to the minority who think they can treat their tenants like this. Failure to license your property could result in an unlimited fine and a criminal record.”
Are you a Wembley landlord? Remember that most private landlords in Brent are legally required to obtain a license for their properties from the council. Find out more at www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing.