Disappointingly low fine for Harrow landlord who let unsafe property in breach of prohibition order
A landlord of an unlicensed House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) has landed himself into trouble again after an inspection uncovered he was housing five tenants and himself in a dangerous two bedroom property which had been prohibited from use by Harrow Council.
When officers inspected the property on Headstone Drive, Harrow, they discovered the property was being occupied in breach of an Emergency Prohibition Order (EPO).
The house was in severe disrepair, so bad that one plug in the loft was serving a network of daisy chained extension leads powering electric fires, TVs, music system, lamps to the eves in the loft sectioned off as small bedrooms.
In order to reach their bedroom, tenants had to use an illegally installed staircase with no fire protection to the loft. The loft itself had load bearing support removed and was unsafe.
That wasn’t all – a large window on the first floor was held in place with tape and installed the wrong way around with the handle on the outside.
The landlord, Paul Ettienne, of Headstone Drive, made no attempt to comply with the order to make property safe to live in. He pleaded guilty at Willesden Magistrates court on 16 June 2022 and was ordered to pay £3,660.
He blamed the Coronavirus pandemic and the loss of income for making no attempt on improvements to the property.
Cllr Anjana Patel, Harrow Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety said:
“Not only did Etienne ignore the conditions of the protection order, but he thought he was above the law and could get away with housing tenants in his death trap property. Thanks to the work of our officers the law caught up with him and he has a price to pay.
“Everyone has a right to safe place they can call home but unfortunately there are a minority who put greed before the safety of their tenants. That is unacceptable and that’s why we are putting residents first and coming after those operating illegally.”
Ettienne had previously been prosecuted in 2019 for breaching the Emergency Prohibition Order and was found to be still flouting the law despite a large fine.
Ettienne was found guilty once again and fined £1,477, ordered to pay £2,035 towards the costs of the prosecution and victim surcharge of £148 making a total of £3,660 penalty.
Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, Harrow Council could apply for a banning order against Mr Ettienne. The tenants could also apply for Rent Repayment Orders and the council could pursue further prosecutions if the offending continues.
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