Golders Green landlords fined record £145,000 for endangering tenants’ lives
Leaseholders and landlords of a ten-flat property in Golders Green have been heavily fined after endangering the lives of up to 20 people found living in the property.
Willesden Magistrates Court heard that Idris Raza, TISHK Limited and Hanasa Limited continued to house tenants in ten studio flats in Golders Green Road, NW11, after Barnet Council served a Prohibition Order under the Housing Act 2004 preventing the property from being used.
On 3 May 2016, they were found guilty of ignoring the Prohibition Order and of badly managing the property.
Following a complaint from a tenant of one of the dwellings, Barnet Council’s Environmental Health Team found the accommodation to be in a very poor condition and badly managed.
The Magistrates said Mr Raza had displayed reckless behaviour as both an individual and as director of TISHK Ltd and Hanasa Ltd.
They found that very serious harm would have been likely if a fire had started at the property – with 10-20 people potentially losing their lives. The Magistrates said the tenants’ financial situation had left them vulnerable and the defendants had defied the Prohibition Order to secure substantial financial benefit and to profit from the offending.
The risks and shortcomings that prompted the team to issue a Prohibition Notice and bring the prosecution included:
- inadequate fire separation between the rooms
- four studios with no external windows
- broken ceiling panels
- inadequate locks on studio doors
- faulty internal corridor lighting and
- an accumulation of furniture at the top of the only staircase leading to and from the flats.
Photo showing studio flat windows opening onto fire escape route – no adequate fire separation.
As well as failing to comply with a Prohibition Order, the leaseholders and landlords were found to have breached the Houses in Multiple Occupation Management Regulations.
All three defendants were found guilty and fined a total of £120,000, with costs of £21,660 and surcharges of £360.
Photo showing damage and damp staining to ceiling panels.
In addition, on 2 February 2016, Ali Ahmed was found guilty in his absence of involvement in managing the premises and fined a total of £24,000, with costs of £1,000 and a surcharge of £120. On 19 April Gyda Properties Ltd was found guilty of involvement and fined £1,000.
The total fines to date for the offences now stand at £145,000, plus costs of £22,660 and surcharges of £480.
Councillor Tom Davey, Chairman of the Housing Committee, Barnet Council said:
“This property was in a very poor condition with the landlord earning over £11,000 per month in rental income.
“As a result of hard work by the case officer on this complex case, the prosecution was successful and substantial fines were handed out. This case clearly demonstrates that while Barnet Council is keen to work with and support good landlords, it will not tolerate landlords flouting the law, exploiting tenants and putting their lives at risk.“
From 5 July 2016, additional licensing for houses in multiple occupation is being introduced by Barnet Council to improve the standard of accommodation provided. More information can be found by visiting www.barnet.gov.uk/hmos
Information and help with property licensing in Barnet can be found on our website at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/barnet.