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Rogue landlord fined £20,000 for HMO breach

23 October 2018

A PRIVATE landlord and a managing agent have been found guilty of managing a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without the required licence, following a successful prosecution by Islington Council.

Following a complaint from a tenant living at 28 Penderyn Way, N7, a Senior Environmental Health Officer inspected the property on 25 October 2017 and discovered up to eight unrelated occupants sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Licensable HMOs are properties occupied by five or more people forming more than one household who share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom.  On Holloway Road and Caledonian Road this includes all rented properties occupied by three or more people in more than one household and certain converted properties.  HMO licensing is used to tackle poor management of properties and drive up standards of accommodation in the private sector.

There were also multiple broken items.  These included a bedroom window with no glass, no working fire detection system or fire blanket in the kitchen, and a cracked electrical plug socket in the living room.

The landlord, Mr Kuppusami Selvarajan, of Abbotswood Gardens, Ilford, was found guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court and sentenced on 27 September 2018 to pay an £8,500 fine.

The property managing agent, S3A Management Limited, pleaded guilty and ordered to pay a fine of £7,650. The defendants were also ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of £5,773.60, bringing the total fines and costs to £21,923.60. The tenants are also entitled to apply for a Rent Repayment Order to claim back the rent they have paid.

District Judge Rimmer described 28 Penderyn Way as a property in a “poor state of repair”. Regarding the lack of HMO licence, he said that the landlord “enjoyed ongoing receipt of likely inflated rent, all the while making no checks as to whether a property which they have clearly anticipated may be let as an HMO”, which he did not consider gave the landlord a reasonable excuse.

Islington Council executive member for housing and development councillor Diarmaid Ward said: “London is facing a massive housing crisis and this has put many people on lower incomes at risk of exploitation.

“Everyone has the right to safe, genuinely affordable housing and Islington will not tolerate dodgy operators taking advantage of people’s desperate need for a home.

“It’s unacceptable for landlords to rake in rent from vulnerable people living in rundown, unsafe spaces and where we find unacceptable conditions we will act to protect tenants.”