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Brent Council’s crackdown on rogue landlords results in almost £100,000 court fines in just four weeks

Thursday, February 16, 2017 - Brent Council

Four weeks of prosecutions by Brent Council has seen six successful landlord prosecutions with total court fines of £97,727, the highest amount recorded by Brent in such a short period.

A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay more than £40,000 for failure to licence a flat above commercial premises in the Harlesden selective licensing area. There were also disrepair issues in the property with two children living in poor conditions. The court heard evidence of broken windows, damp and mould on walls, broken electrical sockets, insufficient heating and gaps in the front door allowing cold air, rain and vermin to enter the property. 

Mr Bernard Patrick McGowan was ordered to pay £41,488 (£40,000 fine, £1,318 costs, £170 victim surcharge) in respect of the property in Craven Park in Harlesden, by Willesden Magistrates Court on 9 February.

Mr McGowan was also fined for licensing breaches of another property he owns in Tokyngton Avenue, Wembley, being ordered to pay a total of £6,902 (£5,000 fine, £1,732 costs, £170 victim surcharge). The manager of the property, Mr Michael Zanon, was fined £3,402 (£1,500 fine, £1,732 costs, £170 victim surcharge). Two companies of which Mr Zanon is Director, Vera Accommodation Ltd and Nathaniam Ltd were also fined £7,902 (£6,000 fine, £1,732 costs, £170 victim surcharge) and £3,902 (£2,000 fine, £1,732 costs, £170 victim surcharge) respectively.

On Tuesday 31 January, Willesden Magistrates Court fined five defendants a total of £18,700 for HMO licensing offences. The charges were failure to license an HMO, breaches of the HMO management regulations and failure to respond to notices in respect to a property in Monks Park in Wembley.

The property was found to be in a potentially dangerous condition having inadequate fire protection, defective lighting and disrepair to stair coverings. Two defendants were convicted for licensing breaches of the HMO; Mr Zulfiqar Bhatti of Barby Rd, Ladbroke Grove was fined £8,970, Ms Rozina Bhatti, of the same address was fined £8,370. Three defendants were convicted for failing to provide the council with information about the occupiers of the HMO; Mr Adeel Tahir Bahatti was fined £165. Mr Ian Taylor and Mr Raheel Tahir Butt, both of Monks Rd, Wembley, were fined £930 and £165 respectively.

Willesden Magistrates fined the landlords of a property in Sudbury Avenue in Wembley on 19 January for failure to license an HMO and for failing to comply with HMO management regulations. Mr Ladha and Ms Nemes were each fined £2,094, costs of £594 and a victim surcharge of £209, making a total fine of £5,585.

On 26 January another prosecution at Willesden Magistrates Court resulted in a fine of £4,998 (£3,500 fine, £1,318 costs, £170 victim surcharge) for Mr Lowas in respect of a property in Girton Avenue in Roe Green for licensing breaches.

On 12 January Willesden Magistrates Court fined Ms Patience Abaraonye in respect of failure to licence an HMO and breaches of HMO regulations. This was a ‘rent to rent’ arrangement where a property is rented out and then sub-let by the tenant for more money than the original rent paid. Ms Abaraonye had sub-let her tenancy in Draycott Avenue, Kenton despite not living at the address, creating an HMO which required a licence.

Brent Council housing prosecution 2017

Photo: Police accompanying council officers during inspection of the Draycott Avenue property. 

The property was found to have no adequate fire protection measures and safety hazards in areas such as the staircase. There were even tenants at the property occupying an unconverted loft only accessible by a ladder, as shown below.

Brent Council housing prosecution 2017

Ms Abaraonye pleaded guilty to the offences, she was fined a total of £4,848 (£4,000 fine, £678 costs, £170 victim surcharge).

Brent Council are reminding tenants that if their landlord is prosecuted for not having a licence, they can apply for a Rent Repayment Order to claim back up to 12 months of rent paid (excluding housing benefit), via the Residential Property Tribunal.

Councillor Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

It’s vital that we prosecute landlords who break licensing rules because they are putting tenants at risk by allowing living conditions that can be dangerous and unsafe. By taking legal action we are protecting tenants and making sure that standards are high in our private rented sector.

For more information on the property licensing rules in Brent, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/brent

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