Redbridge landlord fined over £25,000 for turning five houses into unlicensed, illegal death traps
A private landlord who let unsafe, unlicensed properties in Redbridge that endangered the lives of 56 people has been fined £25,165.
Council enforcement officers discovered Mindaugas Cikanavicius, from Palmerston Road, Grays was operating five properties in Redbridge as houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s) without a licence.
The properties were also found to be potential death traps after having virtually no fire safety measures in place to protect tenants, including smoke alarms and fire blankets in the kitchen.
Following his appearance at Barkingside Magistrates Court on Friday 11 October 2019 Cikanavicius, 37, pleaded guilty to operating unlicensed, overcrowded and unsafe HMO’s.
He was hit with fines of £14,800 and ordered to pay costs of £10,105. A victim surcharge of £260 was also imposed.
During sentencing the judge stated Cikanavicius had “56 vulnerable people in his properties and if there had been a fire there would have been some deaths on his hands”.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness Cllr Farah Hussain at Redbirdge Council said:
“It is completely unacceptable that people should be living in conditions that put their lives at risk.
“This landlord showed a complete disregard for the safety of his tenants and it’s only right that he now faces the full weight of the law.
“We take a zero-tolerance approach to landlords of this type and will continue to crack down on all suspected HMO’s and unlicensed properties to root out rogue operators in the borough.“
In the London Borough of Redbridge, licensing is required for all HMO’s and almost 80% of all other private rented homes under the council’s selective licensing scheme. Those who do not comply face being prosecuted or issued with a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per offence.
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing in the London Borough of Redbridge is available here.
For all the latest news and events, you can sign up for the free London Property Licensing newsletter here.