Three tenants who were found to be guilty of sub-letting a three bedroomed house in Kingsbury and crammed 35 men into the property have been fined more than £23,000.
The 35 ‘sub-tenants’ had been crammed into all of the property’s rooms with the exception of the bathrooms and given mattresses. The kitchen also doubled up as a bedroom and there was even a mattress found under a canopy in the garden without any form of heating.
Two of the guilty party, appearing at the Willesden Magistrate’s Court, were each fined £9,000 as well as £1,470 in associated costs and victim charges, for not obtaining an HMO licence and ignoring Brent Council’s requests for information as part of its investigations.
The third guilty tenant was given a £1,000 fine for not giving information to the council’s officers as part of their investigation into the house along with a further fine of £1,350 in costs and victim surcharges.
Councillor Harbi Farah, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “No one should be forced to live in the overcrowded, unsafe and unhygienic conditions that the Council discovered these men living in. Poor living standards in the private rented sector are not the norm and Brent Council will track down those responsible, be they owners, agents or illegal sub-letters.
“We will not tolerate the exploitation of tenants by criminal landlords and subletters and we will continue to prosecute anyone we find breaking the law. It’s time that rogue landlords get their house in order or exit the rental market so that those professional landlords who operate in Brent can continue to provide quality, much-needed accommodation.”
Richard Merrick of PIMS, said:”Unfortunately this is a sign of the times, as we have reported over the last six months cases of illegal subletting are rapidly increasing and in some instances on an ‘industrial’ scale.”