Camden property agents banned from operating in the private rented sector
Camden Council has secured banning orders against rogue property agents who were previously fined over £70,000 for letting an unlicensed and unsafe home in King’s Cross.
Simple Properties Management Ltd and the company’s Director, Miguel Cabeo Cespedes, 50, of Windsor Ave, SW19, were given banning orders prohibiting them from letting any housing and engaging in letting agency or property management work in England.
The judgement was given on 25 May 2021 following an online hearing held on Friday 21 May.
The company received a ban for five years and Mr Cabeo Cespedes for three years. Mr Cabeo Cespedes is also banned from being involved in any company that carries out letting or property management work for that period.
The banning orders will take effect in six months’ time and if breached, penalties can include imprisonment for up to 51 weeks or a court fine, or both or a Civil Financial Penalty of up to £30,000.
According to Companies House records, Simple Properties Management Limited was incorporated in September 2018, has never submitted company accounts and has an active proposal to strike off the company.
The judgement follows a previous hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court held on February 6, 2020, which found Simple Properties Management Ltd and Mr Cabeo Cespedes guilty of operating an unlicensed HMO and breaching safety regulations (read here) resulting in penalties that included a £40,000 fine for the business and a £30,000 fine for Mr Cabeo Cespedes.
Camden Council has now secured three of four banning orders issued in London, including the capital’s first ever rogue landlord banning order (read here).
This case was brought to Court after Council Officers carried out several visits to an Acton Street property in May 2019 and identified it as an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) with numerous safety issues.
Officers found that the flat’s kitchen diner had been improperly partitioned to make the two bed flat a four bedroom property that was home to five residents, damaged wiring to a washing machine was left exposed in the property’s bathroom and both the fire alarms and fire escapes from the property were found to be inadequate.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) include flat shares, student homes, bedsits and some buildings that have been converted into flats. In December 2020 Camden renewed its landlord licensing scheme for a further five years and all HMOs have to be licensed in the borough.
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 and safe homes. The pandemic has further highlighted the importance of this and the right to a safe and secure home.
“Most landlords are decent law-abiding people however for too long a minority have been able to let housing that may be unfit for human habitation, is overcrowded and in which fire and general safety are both woefully disregarded.
“Our HMO licensing scheme continues to improve the standards in Camden’s private housing, empowering renters to take action and helping good landlords to run successful businesses.
“The prosecution and banning orders we have seen given in this case is a necessary last resort. Our message to landlords and letting agents is that we are here to work with you; to provide advice and assistance first of all and to ensure you can meet your obligations.“
A free guide containing more information about property licensing and HMO planning rules in the London Borough of Camden is available here.
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