Rogue letting agents and property companies fined total of £130,000 for 'carve up' micro flats in unlicensed house in multiple occupation
Camden Council’s investigations have helped to open a right ‘Pandora’s box’ by exposing an illegally-run, poorly converted house in multiple occupation.
Grosvenor Property Investment London Ltd, Knightsbridge Properties London Ltd, Business Home Ltd and their directors were fined a total of £130,000 and ordered to pay Camden Council’s legal costs at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on Thursday, 4 July 2019.
In total, £95,000 in fines were given for failure to license the property, £25,000 for the failure to respond to statutory notices requiring information and £10,000 for the re-letting of a tiny flat in contravention of a prohibition order (fines breakdown by company and director given below).
The fines relate to an unlicensed house in multiple occupation at 36 Pandora Road, West Hampstead. The property came to light in 2017 following complaints about rubbish outside the property, that that been badly converted into 16 flats. Tenants had tenancy agreements with the three letting agent companies and had paid rent to them for rooms at the property.
A large amount of housing benefit was paid to the tenants, who then paid this to the landlord. Camden Council has made an application to reclaim this under The Housing and Planning Act 2016.
Camden Council served Civil Penalties on Grosvenor Property Investment Ltd in 2017 over poor management relating to the fire alarm and failure to license the property as a house in multiple occupation. Despite this, no valid application was made and the property remained without a licence in January 2019 when officers visited again. Multiple prohibition orders were also served as many of the flats were found to be so small they posed a hazard for occupiers.
Councillor Meric Apak, Cabinet Member for Better Homes at Camden Council, said: “We discovered a flat conversion completed so badly that a flat had its WC cistern out in the communal corridor! The flat was so narrow that you could touch both walls when you were in the middle of it, and tenants were being plagued by a faulty alarm.
“Once again this proves why regulation of homes in multiple occupation is necessary. If you are running a house in multiple occupation in Camden you must get it licensed to prove you are a fit and proper landlord committed to keeping the property in a fit state for tenants. We will not hesitate to step in to protect tenants’ rights.”
Fines breakdown by company and director:
Grosvenor Property Investment Ltd: Section 72, £10,000 and £321 costs
Talal Alenezi, Picton Place, W1U 1BP: Section 72, £15,000 and £321 costs
Knightsbridge Properties London Ltd: Section 72, £10,000, Section 16, £5,000 and £321 costs
Henaa Rashid, Duke Street, W1K 6JR: Section 72, £15,000, Section 16, £5,000 and £321 costs
Mohamed Rasool, Beauchamp Place, SW3 1NJ: Section 72, £15,000, Section 16 £5,000 and £321 costs
Business Home Ltd: Section 72, £15,000, Section 16, £5,000, Section 32, £5,000 and £321 costs
Daya Ahmed Dayaaldeen, Upper Grosvenor Street, W1K 2NG: Section 72, £15,000, Section 16, £5,000, Section 32, £5,000 and £321 costs
Section 72 is managing an unlicensed house in multiple occupation
Section 16 is failure to comply with statutory notice
Section 32 is breach of prohibition order
The property is a house in multiple occupation because it consisted of self-contained flats that did not comply with building regulations when converted and still did not do so when rented out to tenants rather than being owner occupied.