A letting agent and his landlord client have been fined thousands of pounds for a number of offences relating to what a local authority calls “an illegally established house of multiple occupation.”
Landlord Oner Arslanboga and a Mr Kawsar, representing the letting agency South East Residentials Limited, have been found guilty of failing to license a house in multiple occupation (HMO), being in breach of the Housing Act 2004 and failing to comply with Management of Houses of Multiple Occupations (England) Regulations 2006.
The premises first came to the attention of Greenwich council back in 2013 when environmental health officers suspected that the property was an unlicensed HMO.
Officers served an Improvement Notice after an inspection and the then-owner claimed that it was not an HMO and instead applied for a temporary exemption notice so that the premises did not require to be licensed.
However, the council intervened again in June 2015 as a result of communication from a tenant where the description of the poor living conditions led to the assessment that it was unequivocally being used as an HMO.
Three tenants were present during an inspection and they all confirmed that they paid rent to Arslanboga. The inspection revealed that all five rooms were occupied by at least one person unrelated to the occupants of the other rooms. Most of the rooms failed to comply with even basic housing regulations with missing smoke detectors and widespread use of socket adaptors.
Kawsar - who went to the magistrates court on behalf of South East Residentials Limited - previously claimed that, as the managing agency, his firm was not informed of the council inspection by the owner. He also claimed that he had informed the owner of the works that needed to be carried out, but rslanboga refused to pay for the HMO licence and works as it was too expensive.
The court fined Arslanboga £5,600 and ordered him to pay prosecution costs of £750 as well as a victim's surcharge of £120. South East Residentials was fined £1,750, prosecution costs totalling £375 and a victim surcharge of £120.