Two rogue landlords and letting agents have been fined £26,500 for renting out a rat and cockroach-infested unlicensed HMO, with the two letting agents involved also fined a total of just under £6,000.
Barnet Council’s enforcement officers found 80 Highfield Avenue in Golders Green hadn’t been registered as an HMO – despite being home to nine people.
They also discovered a faulty fire alarm system, stairs and flooring that had been partially eaten by rats, and a severe cockroach infestation.
The nine people included a pregnant woman who was sharing one small room with her husband and young child, while another run-down room was home to a man who often shared it with his two children.
Owner Asher Abraham has been fined £20,000 at Willesden Magistrates Court and ordered to pay £6,113 in costs along with a £170 victim surcharge. Co-owner Hannah Abraham was fined £1,500 with a victim surcharge of £170.
Three of the rooms were let by Easy Lettings, while the other two were let by UKPA Property Consultants, the trading name for R. B Jethwa Ltd. Easy Lettings and R. B Jethwa were each fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £764 and a victim surcharge of £170.
Councillor Richard Cornelius, chair of Barnet’s housing and growth committee, says the London borough won’t tolerate dodgy landlords.
“These people have purposefully breached the law and put their tenants at risk. The COVID-19 lockdown cannot be used as an excuse not to licence HMOs and ensure that properties are safe.”
He adds: “I am delighted to see the courts supporting the council in sending out a strong message that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.”