Landlords hit with large fines after over-crowding cases
A landlord has been hit with costs of nearly £25,000 after renting out substandard houses to 30 people without a licence.
John Mayer, of Plymouth, pleaded guilty to four cases of failing to apply for an HMO licence.
He also failed to comply with improvement notices, leaving 12 tenants without adequate heating.
Mayer was fined £23,000 in total and ordered to pay court costs of £1,554 at the rate of £2,000 per month. Mayer pleaded guilty on October 16 but was sentenced on October 30.
Plymouth City Council prosecuted Mayer as part of its campaign to tackle rogue landlords.
The council signed up to a Charter for Private Rented Housing in March. The charter was agreed in partnership with landlords, including the South West Landlords Association.
Commitments in the charter include training for landlords, raising the profile of the best landlords and letting agents, and taking enforcement to protect tenants against rogue landlords.
In a separate case, two landlords have been fined £36,340 after pleading guilty to 30 offences relating to five properties.
Palminder Singh Sanghera and Nirmal Kaur had failed to get HMO licences for the homes in Hounslow, where 30 people lived.
The council which took them to court claims that the couple simply wanted to get in as much rent as possible.
Acting on a tip-off, Hounslow Council’s enforcement team found poor conditions, including dumped rubbish, fire alarms that did not work and a blocked fire escape.
Cllr Steve Curran, leader of Hounslow Council, said: “The council is determined to crack down on rogue landlords.
“These fines are a warning to landlords of the consequences of ignoring their legal obligations relating to HMOs.
“There is no justification for putting people’s lives at risk and making them live in poor conditions.
“That’s why raising the standards of private rented housing and bringing rogue landlords to account is a priority for this council.”
In yet another case of over-crowding, a landlord who converted a terrace north London house into nine flats, raking in £100,000 a year in rent, has been ordered to pay £20,000.
Haringey Council investigators found toilet rooms squeezed into the corners of kitchens, and said that landlord Andreas Stavrou Antoniades had ignored repeated demands to stop using the property as separate flats.
The landlord must now convert the house into three more reasonably size flats.
The council said that he had been convicted of a similar offence three years ago, and given a £13,500 fine.