Landlord fined for housing 15 people in ‘filthy’ unlicensed flat
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government
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A London landlord has been fined more than £6,500 after a council-led inspection found 15 people living inside a "filthy" unlicensed three-storey flat.
The rented property, in Holbeach Mews, Balham, was also found to be devoid of fire protection - having no mains wired alarm system, no fire doors and no fire fighting equipment.
Hassan Akhtar Niazi, of Vant Road, Tooting, pleaded guilty on March 28 to four offences under the Housing Act, having been prosecuted by Wandsworth Council.
Officers at the town hall obtained a warrant to enter his flat in August last year after they were contacted by the UK Border Agency.
Supported by Wandsworth Police, council officers carried out an inspection of the property. It appeared that 15 people were occupying the flat at the time of the inspection while the communal stairway was obstructed by clothes, shoes, furniture, household articles and refuse.
Environmental health officers branded the kitchen filthy, and deemed the bathroom and both toilets in the mid-terrace property to be in an unsanitary condition.
During the subsequent council investigation, the owner of the flat was found to be living in Pakistan but officers established that Niazi was the liable party, as he had been receiving rent payments.
Prior to his prosecution, Niazi was interviewed by an environmental health officer based in Wandsworth’s housing department. He gave ‘no comment’ answers to nearly every question relating to the property, saying only that he thought there were two or three people living there.
However, at Richmond Magistrates’ Court last month, Niazi pleaded guilty to four offences.
He was fined £3,000 for failing to license a house in multiple occupation (HMO), £500 for each of the three breaches of the Management of HMO Regulations, a £15 victim surcharge and £2,108 costs. A total of £6,623.
Under the Housing Act 2004, properties with five or more tenants, of three or more storeys and sharing amenities are required to be licensed.