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“Dodgy operator” gets five-figure fine for dangerous HMO

A London council has successfully prosecuted a so-called “dodgy operator” landlord for failing to comply with fire safety regulations and carry out repairs to his property.

Following a complaint from a tenant living in the flat in Islington, a council environmental health officer inspected the property and discovered four unrelated occupants sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities – making the property a HMO.

The property did not have a mains wired smoke alarm system, or a fire door to the kitchen as required by HMO licensing. There was also a bedroom window in a poor state of repair. 

The officer issued an Improvement Notice under section 12 of The Housing Act 2004 on owner David Simons, requiring him to remedy these defects and provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report.

The council officer returned to the property on two further occasions but despite initial assurances from Simons that he intended to carry out the necessary works, no work was carried out.

An initial court hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court was in April where Simons was found guilty of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice.

Now a sentencing hearing has fined him £12,400. Costs of £600 were awarded with a victim’s surcharge of £175.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington council executive member for housing and development, says: “Everyone has the right to a safe, genuinely affordable home and we will not tolerate dodgy operators taking advantage of people’s desperate need for a home. Where we find unacceptable conditions we will act to protect tenants.” 

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