Southall landlord fined £70,000 after 20 people discovered living in overcrowded and unsafe property
A Southall landlord has been fined over £70,000 after Ealing housing enforcement officers discovered 20 people, including two babies, living in a grossly overcrowded and poorly managed property on East Avenue in Southall.
Ealing council officers first identified the problem during an unannounced visit to the property in January 2015.
The property had previously been licensed by Ealing Council as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) suitable for up to 10 individuals in seven households. The property was found to have a number of serious management breaches including blocked means of escape, dirty and unmaintained bathrooms and kitchens, unclean common parts, and poor maintenance of the emergency lighting.
Following the initial visit, a court warrant was obtained and council housing enforcement officers revisited to carry out a full inspection of the property. The officers discovered 20 individuals, including two babies, making up 10 households residing at the address. Some people were living in two windowless rooms that were unsuitable for residential occupation.
The landlord had ignored the terms and conditions of his HMO licence by cramming in more than double the number of tenants he was permitted to have in the property. The council brought a prosecution against him for offences relating to his failure to comply with the management of the HMO and one of permitting more occupants or households than allowed by his HMO licence.
Landlord pleaded guilty to 18 offences
Mr Balwinder Singh Kahlon, the landlord of the property, appeared at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Friday 30 October 2015. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced for 18 offences of failing to comply with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and one offence of allowing the property to be occupied by more people than was permitted in the licence, in breach of Section 72(2) of the Housing Act 2004.
The 19 fines imposed totalled £69,100 and he was also ordered to pay council costs of £3,180.43 and the victim surcharge of £120, a total penalty of £72,400.43.
Councillor Jasbir Anand, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for housing, said:
“We make every effort to ensure residents in the borough have decent living standards and are well protected from greedy slum landlords.
“Mr Kahlon showed scant regard for his licence conditions and endangered the lives of his tenants in order to make as much money as he could. I have nothing but contempt for his actions and welcome this substantial fine that has been imposed on him, which I hope will be a considerable deterrent to other unscrupulous individuals.”
The court made a collection order for the fines and ordered Mr Kahlon to pay £25,000 by 27 November 2015 and the balance within three months, by 26 February 2016.
For more information on HMO licensing in Ealing, visit www.ealing.gov.uk/housing. Tenants with concerns about the condition and safety of rented accommodation can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about property licensing in Ealing is also available on the London Property Licensing website at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/ealing.