A London council’s action against a property agent it has accused of “repeated negligence” has resulted in £37,000 of fines and costs levied against the individual.
A statement from Southwark council says the nine HMOs in the Rotherhithe area owned and managed by Omar Patel - director of management companies Let Share Ltd and Live Work Study London Ltd - were built in the past four decades and “look very nice”.
Some tenants were paying as much as £950 per month.
However, the properties variously lacked fire, heat and smoke detectors, secure fire doors and protected escape routes.
The council statement says Patel’s “repeated negligence” was particularly trouble. “His previous convictions in Newham make it clear that he knowingly endangered the lives of his tenants” says the authority.
At Camberwell Green Magistrate’s Court back in May, Patel was sentenced to costs and fines of £18,117, for offences concerning seven properties.
Offences relating to two further properties were heard at the same court this week where Patel was sentenced to costs and fines of £19,162.
According to the local council, District Judge Ezzat expressed disbelief “at the scale of negligent profiteering” from Patel, whose total costs and fines come to £37,279.
Councillor Victoria Mills, cabinet member for finance, performance and Brexit, says: “[Southwark] council takes fire safety extremely seriously and our council homes are fire risk assessed and maintained to the highest standard … I hope that this result ensures that all landlords make sure that their properties are properly maintained and that all fire protection equipment is present and functioning. I would also encourage anyone who lives in an HMO, to let us know if they suspect that fire protection isn’t up to scratch.”