News

Newham right to buy landlord fined for renting out an unlicensed property

Monday, February 15, 2016 - Newham Council

A landlord, who previsouly sat on the board of the Carpenters Tenant Management Organisation in Newham, has been found guilty of housing offences.

Olanrewaju Sharomi, 47, was found guilty in December 2015 of failing to licence her leasehold flat in Dennison Point on the Carpenters Estate, with Newham Council’s private sector licensing scheme, after a trial at Thames Magistrates’ Court. She was also found guilty of supplying false or misleading information to the council about where she lived.

On Wednesday 27 January 2016, she returned to the court for sentencing. Magistrates fined her £13,000 for the two offences and ordered her to pay the council’s costs of £3,491 and a victim surcharge of £150.

According to Newham Council, Sharomi is a registered child-minder and has assets of more than £500,000 including other properties. She acquired her Dennison Point flat through Right to Buy in October 2002.

In January 2013 when the council’s private rented sector licensing scheme launched with much publicity Sharomi failed to apply for a licence. The private sector licensing scheme was introduced to tackle anti-social behaviour in the rental sector and protect vulnerable tenants from exploitative landlords. An investigation launched by the council last year found that Sharomi had been letting the two-bedroom flat to a woman and her two children since at least 2008.

To avoid applying for a licence Sharomi claimed she lived at the property, but her tenant gave evidence in court disputing this and council officers discovered that her childcare business was registered to a property in Dagenham. As a result she was found guilty of supplying false or misleading information to the council.

Councillor Andrew Baikie, mayoral advisor for housing, said:

Of all the landlords on the Carpenters Estate, Sharomi, as a member of the TMO, would have been fully aware of her obligation to register with the private rented sector licensing scheme. The scheme was set up to prevent anti-social behaviour and catch criminal landlords in Newham.

Sharomi was a person of responsibility on the tenant board, which makes her lies even more despicable. We will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and we will take action against those who attempt to cheat the system. For someone who has such significant assets this fine is miniscule, we expect the courts to take a tougher stance against landlords like Sharomi.

Further information about property licensing can be found on our website at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/newham, or by visiting the Council’s website.

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