A lettings agent in London must pay fines totalling £37,000 after being convicted of breaching minimum safety standards at nine properties and failing to register most of them as an HMO.
Omar Patel was taken to court by Southwark Council after it was found that eight of his nine properties in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe were being operated illegally as an HMO, and that seven of them lacked fire, heat or smoke detectors, secure fire doors or protected escape routes.
In May Patel was fined £18,177 for these offences but he has now been ordered to pay another £19,000 for failing to register the properties as HMOs.
It was also found that Patel was charging each tenant up to £950 a month to live at the addresses.
He is a director of two companies in East London; Let Share Ltd and Live Work Study London Ltd and his properties will now be monitored to ensure remedial work is completed and that they are registered as an HMO. The Facebook and Trustpilot pages for Live Work Study London Ltd feature dozens of eye-wateringly critical reviews of the compay, which only has a two-star rating on Trustpilot.
“The council takes fire safety extremely seriously and our council homes are fire risk assessed and maintained to the highest standard,” says Councillor Victoria Mills, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Brexit.
“We hold all landlords and property managers in Southwark accountable to the same high degree. 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.”
During the hearings it also transpired Patel had previous convictions for similar offences for properties in neighbouring Newham.