Tenant ‘cooped up’ in room measuring less than 6.5 square metres

Court hears how letting agent ignored council warnings that the space behind a kitchen was a fire hazard.

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An agent let out a room measuring less than 6.5 square metres and cooped up behind an HMO kitchen – ignoring formal warnings that it was a fire hazard.

At Willesden Magistrates Court this week, Viviane Almieda admitted breaching HMO licensing conditions, including failing to comply with Brent Council’s amenity and space standards as well as obstructing the council’s investigation.

Almieda, whose agency My London Services Ltd is based in Willesden, was ordered to pay a £30,000 fine plus £2,090 in court costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

The court heard that a tenant was “cooped up”  in a space measuring less than 6.5 square metres – the minimum legal requirement for a single bedroom behind a kitchen at the three-bedroomed converted property.

Almieda, the court heard, ignored warnings from enforcement officers that the room was not safe to rent out because it was a fire hazard.

Speaking after the case, Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “Housing tenants in rooms that are too small and hazardous to fire risks is illegal – there’s no excuse for it.”

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