Criminal landlord from Ilford ordered to pay almost £100,000
An Ilford landlord has been ordered to pay almost £100,000 for operating an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO), breaching management regulations and putting vulnerable residents’ safety at risk.
Mr Mohamed Hafeez Kayani of Chase Way, Southgate, N14 5DE was charged with nine offences under the Housing Act 2004. These involved failure to comply with an Emergency Prohibition Order served in 2013, failure to obtain an HMO licence and failure to properly manage the property.
Mr Kayani was prosecuted by Redbridge Council for the second time, after repeatedly operating the extremely poorly managed HMO in Mortlake Road, Ilford. He pleaded guilty to nine offences on the 9 December 2016.
The court heard how Mr Kayani failed to ensure that all fire alarms were in good and working order and how smoke detectors had been removed from their casings in the common parts of the property. They listened to how the water supply, drainage system and fire escapes were not maintained. Fire escapes had loose floor covering in the hallway and stairwells and a loose electrical extension lead wire leading from the kitchen up the stairs.
They heard how tenants had to live with a filthy kitchen with a sink unit and electrical hob in disrepair, loose flooring, severe damp and mould, water penetrated electrical units, poor washing facilities and an exposed light bulb connected to an extension lead on the floor in the shower room.
On Friday 26 January 2018, Mr Kayani was sentenced and fined in total £97,445 at Snaresbrook Crown Court. He was fined £5,000 for each of the nine offences – totalling £45,000, a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act of £48,945, £175 Victim Surcharge and £3,325 costs awarded to Redbridge Council. It is understood he was given 3 months to pay or face 18-months imprisonment.
Redbridge Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Farah Hussain said:
“The Housing Act is there to protect residents from unsafe living conditions. Redbridge has a growing rental market and we need to make sure that it is managed by responsible landlords and provides safe and high quality homes for tenants.
“The safety of our residents is vital. In this case Mr Kayani failed to comply with the law and failed to properly manage the property. He showed little regard for his tenants and put their lives at risk. His actions were totally unacceptable.
“I hope this case reassures our community that we will to do what’s needed and take action to improve privately rented accommodation in Redbridge. In Valentines and Clementswood wards we’ve seen the benefits of selective licensing and we hope to extend the scheme to twelve more wards so we can create a consistent standard for rented properties.“
All properties occupied by three or more people who are not all related and and sharing facilities need a HMO licence anywhere in Redbridge. In the council wards of Valentines and Clementswood, all private rented properties need licensing.
If a licensable property is not correctly licensed, the landlord and their letting agent can be issued with a civil penalty of up to £30,000 or face prosecution in a magistrates court with an unlimited fine. The landlord can also be required to repay up to 12 months rent to the council (if housing benefit or universal credit) or to the tenants (if they paid the rent themselves).
For more information about property licensing rules in the London Borough of Redbridge, visit: www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/redbridge
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