News

Another Wembley landlord and letting agent prosecuted after six families found living in an unlicensed HMO

Friday, September 23, 2016 - Brent Council

A landlord and his letting agent have been fined over £7,500 for cramming six families - comprising 10 adults and six children - into a suburban semi-detached house in Wembley.
 
Willesden Magistrates Court heard that Mohammed Mehdi Ali of Barn Hill in Wembley had not bothered to licence the property, which was built as a four bedroom family home but now has six bedsit-style rooms and a shared kitchen and bathroom.  
 
A raid by Brent Council enforcement officers found 16 people living in the property, including at least six children. Each of the rooms were rented out to a different family or group, with each bedroom doubling up as the only living space as the lounge was being used as a bedroom. The tenants were sharing just one bathroom and two toilets between them.

Brent Council landlord prosecution 2016
A mother lived in this room with her two children 

Overcrowding in the property was made worse by Mr Ali’s blatant disregard of basic fire safety measures. Despite earning at least £2,300 a month in rent from the house, he had not installed adequate smoke alarms or fire doors. 

Mr Ali lives next door to the rental property on Barn Hill – something the court considered to be an aggravating factor in the case, as he would have been fully aware of what was going on in the rented house.

Brent Council landlord prosecution 2016

Two children aged 6 and 8 shared a bed in this bedsitting room

As he did not attend court, Mr Ali was convicted in his absence of offences under the Housing Act 2004 and fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,318 and a victim surcharge of £170 – a total of £7,488.
 
Mr Ali had used a letting agent, Easy Let Homes Limited of 130 High Road, London NW10 2PJ, to collect rent on his behalf. The company pleaded guilty to offences under the Housing Act 2004 and was fined £450 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £45. The magistrates said that they had taken the company’s full cooperation into consideration.
 
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Lead Member for Housing, said:

Given the serious overcrowding and poor fire safety in this house, we could easily be reflecting on a much more serious crime here.
 
The contempt Mr Ali has shown for this legal process by not even bothering to turn up for sentencing speaks volumes. The vast majority of landlords and lettings agents in Brent are honest and law abiding, but we take a zero tolerance approach to the minority who think they can treat their tenants like this. Failure to licence your property could result in an unlimited fine and a criminal record.
  
Most private landlords in Brent are legally required to obtain a licence from the council. You can find out more at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/brent or by visiting the council’s website at www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing

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