A London property agent as been fined for letting an unsafe, unlicensed HMO (house of multiple occupation).
A kitchen-diner partitioned to make the two-bed flat, damaged wiring to a washing machine exposed in a bathroom, and inadequate fire alarms and fire escapes were among the faults found, leaving the rogue agents over £100k out of pocket.
London’s Highbury Corner Magistrates Court heard how Camden council officers carried out several visits to the King’s Cross address in May last year after it was identified as an unlicensed HMO with numerous safety issues.
Evidence outlined how the officers found that the flat’s kitchen-diner had been improperly partitioned to make the two-bed flat a four bedroom property that was home to five residents, damaged wiring to a washing machine was left exposed in the property’s bathroom and both the fire alarms and fire escapes from the property were found to be inadequate.
The court found Simple Properties Management Ltd guilty of operating an unlicensed HMO and breaching safety regulations resulting in a £40,000 fine and a £30,000 fine for one of the company’s directors.
Simple Properties London Ltd, Simple Properties Management Ltd and the businesses’ corresponding directors were handed £106,000 in fines and costs.
Simple Properties London Ltd and its director, both pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed HMO were each fined £18,000.
Roomshub Limited, a third party involved in the letting of the property, and the business director were each fined £2,500 for not complying with a Camden council notice requesting legal information.
Speaking after the case, Cllr Meric Apak, cabinet member for Better Homes, said the prosecution was a last resort.
“Our message to landlords and letting agents is that we are here to work with you, and provide advice and assistance first of all, to ensure you can meet your obligations.
“For too long a minority have been able to let housing that may be unfit for human habitation, is overcrowded, and in which fire and general safety are both woefully disregarded,” he said.