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Landlord fined £75,000 over unlicenced HMOs

A landlord has been fined more than £75,000 for a series of offences concerning a number of properties he owns in Ealing, London.
Gunapalan Vamethevan operated four unlicensed HMOs (House of Multiple Occupation), as well as ignoring several improvement notices. He was prosecuted for nine separate offences.
Mr Vamethevan came to the attention of the council last year, when it was reported to them that his HMOs had not been licensed. An investigation was undertaken. Ealing Council then sent the landlord a series of warning letters, as well as application forms so that he could register his properties in the correct way. However, these were all ignored. The investigation also uncovered further safety issues, such as unsafe staircases and other serious risks.
Later inspections found that the warnings and prohibition orders had been ignored, and the council therefore took the decision to prosecute Mr Vamethevan. After the prosecution had started, the landlord did begin the process of licensing the four properties using the forms provided. However, the late nature of this move, as well as previous offences, meant that the council continued with the prosecution and Mr Vamethevan was ultimately fined a total of £75,215.
“This case is a significant result against an unscrupulous landlord who has previously been prosecuted by the council for his disregard of licensing regulations,” a spokesperson for the council commented. “We make every effort to ensure residents in our borough are well protected and have decent living standards. We take a tough line against anyone who deliberately flouts the law and Mr Vamathevan has quite rightly been given a very heavy penalty for his prolonged and intentional illegal behaviour.”
In general, councils are willing to work with landlords to ensure properties are safe and properly licensed. Where legal issues arise, landlords are encouraged to seek professional advice.

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