The publication Environmental Health News has secured the release of files showing the details of hundreds of convicted private landlords in a landmark victory over the Ministry of Justice and Information Commissioner.
Earlier this year a tribunal ordered the government to release the data, which has now been made public and which shows 2,006 individuals and companies which were fined a total of almost £3m for offences committed between 2006 and 2014 in contravention of the Housing Act 2004.
EHN says overall housing offence convictions have increased rapidly since the housing act came into force and prosecutions for unlicensed and substandard HMOs have gone up even faster.
But local authorities in 11 magistrate court areas, including Doncaster, Wigan and Corby, have carried out only one prosecution each since 2006.
Over 60 per cent of rogue landlords are aged over 40. The full database is here.
The most prosecuted landlord in England is revealed to be London-based property owner, Katia Goremsandu, who has been convicted seven times and fined a total £16,565. This year, which is not included in the database, she was fined £20,000 for operating an unlicensed HMO.
Goremsandu owns at least three rental properties in north London, including two large houses converted into multiple flats in Tottenham. Haringey Council estimates she is making £188,000 a year in rent and part of that comes from housing benefit.
She declines to divulge her home address to council officers or the courts. Instead she gives a PO box address in Notting Hill, west London.
EHN claims that a judge sitting at Wood Green Crown Court last month branded her “deceptive” and upheld her conviction for failing to provide heating and ignoring requests for information.
Goremsandu declined to respond to EHN’s questions outside Wood Green Crown court but her barrister Wayne Lewis of Access Lawyers later gave a statement on her behalf.
Lewis said she felt the label of the most prosecuted landlord in England and Wales was “unfair”.
“She feels had she been given more help from the council in how to deal with the repairs she wouldn’t have had all these prosecutions. They threw the book at her repeatedly and prosecuted her without delay,” he said.
He denied Goremsandu had a negative view of her tenants and said she wouldn’t reveal her home address because the council had caused her difficulties in the past by contacting the banks holding her mortgages.
“To protect her businesses interests she has had to try and conceal her properties from the council,” he said.