Two private landlords have been found guilty of managing Houses in Multiple Occupation with dangerous and sub-standard conditions, following a successful prosecution by Islington council in London.
Environmental health officers from the authority have witnessed 35 breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations at three addresses in the borough, where tenants were found to be at risk from serious fire safety hazards, overcrowding and disrepair.
In one converted semi-detached Victorian property, council officers found 35 people living in four two-bedroom flats. Many bedrooms had bunk beds, with up to five or six people sleeping in some rooms.
The building had no fire alarm system, new room partitions that were not fire resistant, and fire risks including dangerous electrics. There were also broken windows.
The occupants did not have tenancy agreements and paid rent in cash.
Neighbours had contacted the police and landlord Arun Bajaj about anti-social behaviour a number of times in 2016, finally contacting the council after the disturbances became “frequent and extreme” according to the local authority.
Council officers later discovered that people living in the house had been moved to the other properties elsewhere in north London; as a result those properties were overcrowded and fire safety was again compromised.
Again, occupants did not have tenancy agreements and paid rent in cash.
Now Bajaj, from Birmingham - whose family owns all of the properties - has been found guilty of 15 offences in relation to the management of the two properties. Both of the HMOs were found to be overcrowded, with inadequate fire precautions and disrepair including unsafe electrics.
His associate, Antonio Ferraivolo of London, was found guilty of 35 offences in relation to the management of the two properties in question, plus a third property.