Multiple offences lead to £4,775 penalty for Thamesmead landlord
A landlord in the Royal Borough of Greenwich has been found guilty of seven charges relating to an illegally-run House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The property in Austen Close, Thamesmead was found in a very poor condition by council officers with damp, mould and inadequate smoke alarms.
The Royal Borough first became suspicious of the property after Council Tax enquiries led officers to believe that it was inhabited by multiple families even though it was not registered as an HMO.
Upon inspection, Royal Borough officers found the property to be in a hazardous state. Multiple families were living in cramped conditions with several mattresses strewn over the floor, blocked fire-exits and very poor ventilation. Officers also noted inadequate fire precautions throughout the property as well as excessive damp and mould on the ground floor.
Mr. Chiedozie Ogbuka, the owner of the property, appeared at Bexley Magistrates Court on 1 November where he was found guilty of seven charges relating to multiple health and safety breaches as well as failing to respond to letters and a formal notice from the Royal Borough of Greenwich. He was fined £2,900 and ordered to pay £1,800 in costs with a victim surcharge of £75.
Photo showing missing smoke alarm.
Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Environment Councillor Jackie Smith said:
“Our proactive approach to tackling rogue landlords continues to pay off as more heavy fines are issued to those who think that they are above the law. Properties with inadequate smoke detectors and safety features are not just illegal; they also pose a terrible risk to the tenants living there.
“This successful case emphasises the importance of having properly regulated and licensed HMOs with rental agreements and facilities which meet the legal standard. It also coincides with our public consultation on extending our licensing of HMOs so that we can continue to drive up the standard of the private rented housing sector in the borough.
“I encourage tenants, landlords and wider residents who may be affected by these changes to take part in our consultation and work with us in our borough-wide campaign to tackle rogue landlords for good.“
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is currently consulting on plans for borough-wide additional HMO licensing and you can find out more and take part by visiting www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/hmolicensingconsultation.
Further information about property licensing in Greenwich borough is also available at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/greenwich.