Camden landlords and agents given hefty fines following two successful housing prosecutions
A management company running a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Camden have been prosecuted for fire safety failures.
Monsoon Properties Limited were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling over £49,000 for the failures at the flat in Tavistock Place, WC1H 9RX at a sentencing held at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on 8 June 2023.
Monsoon Properties Limited pleaded guilty to breaching regulations 4, 7 and 8 of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 at a previous hearing on Thursday 11 May 2023. Issues noted included inadequate fire detection system, obstructions on the means of escape, defective fire doors, defective oven and hob and smashed wall tiles.
The Court fined Monsoon Properties Limited £10,000 for each breach of regulations – a total fine of £30,000, plus the council’s costs of £7,020 and a surcharge of £12,000. This means Monsoon Properties Limited must pay a total of £49,020.
Separate enforcement action in the form of financial penalty notices has been taken against the licence holder – Roukshana Begum and the letting agents, Snayders Limited. Further checks by London Property Licensing found that Snayders Ltd of London NW4 were expelled from the Property Redress Scheme on 2 June 2023, reason unknown.
Action has been taken against Ms Begum for failure to comply with several licence conditions including the failure to comply with the schedule of works required to ensure the property complies with Camden’s minimum HMO standards. The works which had not been carried out to comply with licence conditions included:
- allowing an undersized room to be re-occupied.
- failure to display a copy of the licence within the property (which meant that tenants were not aware one of the rooms was undersized).
- property not being maintained in reasonable repair (blocked wash hand basin and leak under bath).
- failure to carry out fire safety works and failure to install wash hand basins and additional sockets in bedrooms.
Camden Council has been supporting the tenants living at the flat in Tavistock Place who have been living in unsatisfactory conditions. The property has been re-inspected and most issues have been resolved.
Letting an unlicensed HMO in Kilburn results in further hefty fine
Meanwhile, three property management companies and a landlord have been prosecuted for letting an unlicensed HMO in Camden that was found to have multiple fire safety failures.
The unlicensed HMO property in Greville Road, Kilburn, is owned by Turnpine Limited and was being let through Plaza Estates Agency Limited to Cadogan Assets Limited, a company of which Mr Rasool was the sole Director.
Camden Council obtained a warrant to inspect the property in July 2021 when it was found to be an unlicensed HMO that was being let to five tenants. The inspection found multiple serious fire safety hazards that included partitioned walls in the kitchen and lounge used to create two additional bedrooms that did not have adequate fire escape routes, fire detection or fire-resistant doors.
Mohammed Ali Abbas Rasool, of Brompton Road, SW3, Cadogan Assets Limited, Plaza Estates Agency Limited, and Turnpine Limited were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £78,630 at a sentencing held at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on 14 June 2023.
The defendants entered not guilty pleases to all charges however, the Court found all four parties guilty of offences under the Housing Act 2004 for letting an unlicensed HMO and the failure to comply with regulations 3 and 4 of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006.
Additional charges were brought against Mr Rasool and Cadogan Assets Limited for failing to respond to statutory requests for information.
The total fines and costs each party were ordered to pay are:
- Mohammed Ali Abbas Rasool – £9,930
- Cadogan Assets Limited – £44,190
- Plaza Estates Agency Limited – £14,690
- Turnpine Limited – £9,190
The property has now been returned to its original layout and the partition walls removed. The tenants of the property received support from the Council to end their tenancies and one tenant also attended Highbury Corner Magistrates Court to give evidence in support of the prosecution.
This is not the first time that Camden Council has taken action against Mr Rasool for letting unlicensed and unsafe HMO properties in the borough. In January 2022 the Council secured a landlord banning order against Mr Rasool (read here) and in May 2022 he was ordered to pay £95,000 in fines and costs for letting an unlicensed HMO and safety offences (read here).
Councillor Meric Apak, Camden’s Cabinet Member for Better Homes said:
“Around a third of Camden residents rent from private landlords and they deserve to live in properly regulated, safe homes and to be treated fairly. We are here to stand up for private renters in our borough and we will not hesitate to take robust action against landlords when they repeatedly fail to meet their obligations. Our record of securing seven banning orders against rogue landlords is more than any other Council in England.
“We are committed to ensuring the highest standard of fire safety across all housing in Camden, including in our own housing stock. We are investing significantly in our own council housing ensuring that each of our homes have appropriate fire doors, emergency lighting, fire alarms and fire stopping. By working towards this high standard of fire safety, we can rightly hold private landlords and management companies accountable to the same standards and ensure that every resident in Camden has a safe home to live in.“
Our free guide containing more information about property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in the London Borough of Camden is available here.
For all the latest news and events, you can sign up for the free London Property Licensing newsletter here.