23 July 2018
The lead tenant of a property in Wembley, north London, who illegally sublet an unlicensed and poorly-maintained bungalow, described by Brent Council as a ‘death trap’ for the cramped conditions, has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £6,520 in court costs..
Willesden Magistrates Court found Petru Dregan guilty of breaking housing management regulations and neglecting to protect the safety of tenants from whom he was taking money.
The council’s licensing enforcement team raided the property and reported smoke alarms which had been covered up, blocked windows and doors, as well as damp and mould-caked walls.
The raid on the unlicensed HMO was shown on the Channel 5 programme Bad Tenants, Rogue Landlords which revealed the appalling conditions inside the property.
Mattresses littered the floors of the living room, dining room and even the pantry. Makeshift bunkbeds made out of wood offcuts, pallets and tarpaulins, enabled 10 men to share one bedroom originally designed for two people.
One of the occupants of the bungalow told enforcement officers that he was paying £50 a week to live there.
Councillor Eleanor Southwood, lead member for Housing and Welfare Reform at Brent Council, said: “The court's decision is a positive result for renters in Brent who have a right to safe and decent living conditions.
“In a poorly managed property like this one, people's lives are at stake. Landlords, agents and sub-letters who ignore licensing laws and the regulations around housing management will be hit hard with heavy fines.”
Selective licensing in Brent has been extended to all privately-rented properties in key parts of the borough. From 1 October government changes will require any property rented out to five or more unrelated people to be issued with a mandatory HMO licence.