Property Agents fined £78,000 for letting unlicensed and unsafe HMO property
Three property management companies and a landlord have been prosecuted for letting an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Camden that was found to have multiple fire safety failures.
Mohammed Ali Abbas Rasool, of Brompton Road, SW3, Cadogan Assets Limited, Plaza Estates Agency Limited, and Turnpine Limited were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £78,630 at a sentencing held at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on 14 June 2023.
The defendants entered not guilty pleases to all charges however, the Court found all four parties guilty of offences under the Housing Act 2004 for letting an unlicensed HMO and the failure to comply with regulations 3 and 4 of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. Additional charges were brought against Mr Rasool and Cadogan Assets Limited for failing to respond to statutory requests for information.
The total fines and costs each party were ordered to pay are:
- Mohammed Ali Abbas Rasool - £9,930
- Cadogan Assets Limited - £44,190
- Plaza Estates Agency Limited - £14,690
- Turnpine Limited - £9,190
The unlicensed HMO property in Greville Road, Kilburn, is owned by Turnpine Limited and was being let through Plaza Estates Agency Limited to Cadogan Assets Limited, a company of which Mr Rasool was the sole Director. Camden Council obtained a warrant to inspect the property in July 2021 when it was found to be an unlicensed HMO that was being let to five tenants. The inspection found multiple serious fire safety hazards that included partitioned walls in the kitchen and lounge used to create two additional bedrooms that did not have adequate fire escape routes, fire detection or fire-resistant doors.
The property has now been returned to its original layout and the partition walls removed. The tenants of the property received support from the Council to end their tenancies and one tenant also attended Highbury Corner Magistrates Court to give evidence in support of the prosecution.
This is not the first time that Camden Council has taken action against Mr Rasool for letting unlicensed and unsafe HMO properties in the borough. In January 2022 the Council secured a landlord banning order against Mr Rasool and in May 2022 he was ordered to pay £95,000 in fines and costs for letting an unlicensed HMO and safety offences.
Around a third of Camden residents rent from private landlords and they deserve to live in properly regulated, safe homes and to be treated fairly. We are here to stand up for private renters in our borough and we will not hesitate to take robust action against landlords when they repeatedly fail to meet their obligations. Our record of securing seven banning orders against rogue landlords is more than any other Council in England.
We are committed to ensuring the highest standard of fire safety across all housing in Camden, including in our own housing stock. We are investing significantly in our own council housing ensuring that each of our homes have appropriate fire doors, emergency lighting, fire alarms and fire stopping. By working towards this high standard of fire safety, we can rightly hold private landlords and management companies accountable to the same standards and ensure that every resident in Camden has a safe home to live in.