A rogue landlord has been fined virtually £20,000 after a tribunal discovered he had been renting out an unsafe home with 6 bedrooms to 8 tenants,operating an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO), following a Lambeth Council investigation.
Fernando Brown, generally known as ‘Fred’, was discovered to have been operating the unlicensed House in Multiple Occupance (HMO) in Herne Hill, South London.
The investigation by Lambeth Council’s Environmental Health Team discovered Brown to have violated the Housing Act, 2004, by failing to register as an HMO, and he was duly fined £18,500.
Brown, who lives on Holmewood Road, South Norwood, then tried to enchantment the effective, however a housing tribunal upheld Lambeth’s findings, and ordered him to pay the total quantity.
The council was initially made conscious of the dodgy gaff by a tenant, after bailiffs had turned as much as demand council tax arrears from Brown’s son Andrew.
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Lambeth’s Environmental Health staff was contacted by one among Brown’s tenants and officers labored with Electoral Services to determine that six folks had been registered to vote on the deal with.
But two council officers visited the semi-detached home and learnt that there have been really eight folks residing there.
The tenants confirmed the owner was “Fred Brown” who would often gather hire cash in particular person, and all the time in money.
It later emerged that Brown would often fail to supply hire receipts, he had no written tenancy settlement with any of the occupants, and didn’t defend their deposits as is legally required.
During the inspection, a number of faults had been observed by the council staff, similar to a lack of fireside precautions, main the council to situation brown with an enchancment discover.
Lambeth then carried out a comply with up inspection in February and located that Brown had ignored the earlier discover, as there have been eight tenants nonetheless residing there.
A Notice of Intent to Issue a Civil Penalty Notice was despatched to Mr Brown on March 2 final yr together with a proposed penalty effective of £24,999 because of the severity of the offences.
The council thought of Mr Brown had been motivated by monetary achieve by not paying £1,674 for a five-year HMO license and failing to adjust to the authority for nearly a yr.
Mr Brown then appealed the preliminary £24,999 effective to the first-tier tribunal property chamber which heard the case in April..
The tribunal upheld the unique choice however the monetary penalty was diminished after mitigation from Mr Brown’s authorized staff.
During the tribunal Mr Brown gave proof and claimed he had signed a tenancy settlement with three folks in 2015 and thought they nonetheless lived there.
He claimed to have been misled and utilized for possession of the property when he came upon there have been eight tenants, and none had been on the 2015 settlement.
He additionally claimed anybody else seen on the property throughout his visits might have been “tenants, visitors or squatters” and didn’t query them.
Cllr Maria Kay, Lambeth Cabinet member for Housing and Homelessness, mentioned: “Unscrupulous landlords who put revenue forward of their tenants’ security and wellbeing is not going to be tolerated in our borough.
“I’m happy that the tribunal recognised the gravity of the breach Mr Brown dedicated and agreed his actions had been severe sufficient to warrant a substantial penalty.
“It is necessary to recognise the tireless work of the council’s groups in making certain this was uncovered.
“This case reveals that Lambeth Council takes unlicensed HMOs very significantly and can pursue these in breach to make sure the security and wellbeing of all our residents.”