Islington landlord fined over £85,000 for letting out “substandard” flat
In the latest in a series of high profile London housing prosecutions, an Islington landlord has been ordered to pay more than £85,000 after unlawfully letting out a basement flat.
As part of a planning enforcement crackdown in the Caledonian Road area, the council asked a major local landlord to ensure all his properties were being used lawfully in planning terms.
When the landlord applied to confirm the use of one flat in particular – a basement flat on Caledonian Road, N1 – was lawful, it emerged that the flat was subject to a planning enforcement notice. The notice had been complied with by the flat’s previous landlord but was being flouted by the current owner.
The enforcement notice said the flat was “an unsatisfactory and substandard unit of residential accommodation” with “inadequate light and outlook and poor living environment”. The notice required unauthorised use of the basement as a self-contained flat to cease. The council initiated legal action against the owner.
On 22 June 2015, Andrew Costi Panayi of Caledonian Road, N1 pleaded guilty to breach of a planning enforcement notice relating to the unauthorised use of the basement flat.
At a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing on Friday 16 October at Blackfriars Crown Court, Mr Panayi was ordered to pay a fine of £2,000, a costs award of £15,900 and was issued a confiscation order of £70,000 in relation to the profits made from renting out the unauthorised basement flat.
Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said: “More and more people in Islington are renting privately, and we are determined to help make sure they have decent homes to live in.
“Most landlords act lawfully – but when rogue landlords break the rules, we will go after them.“
Council officers inspected the property again earlier this year and established the basement is no longer being used for accommodation.
On 1 September 2015, Islington Council launched an additional HMO licensing scheme in Caledonian Road and Holloway Road to help tackle poor housing conditions. Landlords wanting more information about the scheme can visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/islington.
Tenants in Islington with concerns about their landlords, or landlords seeking guidance on how to comply with housing legislation, can call the council direct on 0207 527 3001.