A landlord has been fined after a team from the local council found a number of serious issues on their property.
Hawa Ayuba, who also lived at the Dagenham property herself, rented out the remaining rooms to tenants. In all, four tenants and a baby also lived on the premises.
An investigation by the council's private landlord licensing team showed that she had not applied for a licence. During a second visit to the property, the team found faulty wiring that could have proved deadly. Ayuba had also neglected to maintain the fire alarm system, and did not provide the health and safety certificates that landlords are required to by law.
At Barkingside Magistrates Court she pleaded guilty to a total of 11 offences and was fined £5,500, orderd to pay costs of £493.80, a criminal court charge of £150 and a victim surcharge of £120.
The council also expressed its intention to recover housing benefits paid to Ayuba, since she was an unlicensed landlord, via a rent repayment order. Councillor Laila Butt, cabinet member for crime and enforcement, explained: "We are able to do this as we run a borough wide licensing scheme. It means we can protect taxpayer's money from being used to line the pockets of unlicensed rogue landlords. This property was a death trap and posed a risk not only to the lives of the tenants but also to neighbours. Who knows what could have happened if our officers had not acted swiftly as they did? This is exactly the type of landlord behaviour we are clamping down on."
Councils are willing to work with landlords who make honest mistakes and are genuinely uncertain of their responsibilities, but there has been increasing awareness of the need to remove serial offenders from the rental market.
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