The landlord and managing agent of a property in North London have been fined nearly £22,000 between them for operating it as an unlicensed HMO at which inspectors found tenants living in Dickensian conditions.
Both Kuppusami Selvarajan and his agent S3A Management Limited pleaded guilty to charges of operating an unlicensed HMO in Tufnell Park (pictured, above) after local Environmental Health Officers found eight unrelated people living at the property last year.
Tipped off by one of the tenants, they found multiple broken items including a bedroom window without glass, no working fire detection system or fire blanket in the kitchen and a dangerously cracked plug socket in the lounge.
Following a prosecution by the London Borough of Islington, Mr Selvarajan was fined £8,500 and S3A Management £7,650. These fines, along with the council’s legal costs of £5,773 mean they must now pay a total of £21,923.
At the hearing, District Court Judge Rimmer said: “Regarding the lack of HMO licence, the landlord enjoyed ongoing receipt of likely inflated rent, all the while making no checks as to whether a property which they have clearly anticipated may be let as an HMO”.
As well as the fines, the tenants are now able to reclaim the rent they paid to live at the address via Rent Repayment Orders.
“Everyone has the right to safe, genuinely affordable housing and Islington will not tolerate dodgy operators taking advantage of people’s desperate need for a home,” says Islington Councillor Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development (above).