Huge £60,000-plus fine after London tenants’ lives “made a misery”
A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay over £60,000 after – in the words of the council – “being found guilty of making tenants’ lives a misery through licensing breaches.”
The fine is the biggest financial penalty Brent council has secured.
Landlord Hugo Pulqueiro, who has been fined £60,170 and must pay £6,000 court costs – removed the belongings of one of his tenants and change the locks after she complained of the deteriorating conditions inside the overcrowded flat she was sharing with six other tenants in Willesden.
Council enforcement officers raided the property after seeing a video filmed by the victim who found herself homeless and her belongings damaged outside the flat in February.
The council says: “She had been turfed out of her home because Mr Pulqueiro hadn’t wanted his tenants to complain about their horrific exploitation.”
Inside the four-bedroom flat, Pulqueiro created a partition wall down the middle of two single rooms to create two illegal micro rooms that he then rented out to more tenants.
He failed to give his tenants written agreements and sent over different strangers to collect their rent in cash at irregular times during the week.
His tenants told officers that they had never even met their landlord and that they didn’t know how many people had keys to their home.
Pulqueiro also neglected to protect his tenants’ deposits, failed to meet fire safety regulations and ignored his responsibility to maintain the property to a liveable standard. The Fire Brigade was called to the property to put out a fire a week before the enforcement officers’ raid.
A council spokeswoman says: “This is an absolutely shocking case and it’s appalling that Mr Pulqueiro believed he could get away with such gross mistreatment of his tenants.”