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Landlord fined for renting property with low headroom

The landlord, Yaakov Marom, was renting the small flat on the second floor of the house in Hendon in north London for £420 a month. However, tenants were unable to access the flat without negotiating a cramped staircase that could not be climbed without crawling. Headroom ranged from a little under 4 feet high down to 2 feet 4 inches. They then had to pull themselves through a hatch, and a door to the room in the loft had also been reduced in size.Housing officers deemed the flat a fire risk, stating that it would be extremely dangerous if tenants had to leave quickly in the event of a fire. Marom was banned from renting it out, but continued to do so for another year. After the property was visited by housing officers again – this time accompanied by police – he was taken to court for failing to comply with the order.Magistrates fined Marom and ordered him to pay costs, as well as a further payment to the tenants (a “victim surcharge” of £120), totalling over £3,000. Landlords are urged not to ignore council prohibition notices but to work with officials to make properties safe to rent. Unsuitable housing is a major problem in the UK, with thousands of cases being investigated each year. The problems have been exacerbated by high demand for housing, which has led some landlords to convert or adapt properties without due regard for safety legislation.
A spokesperson for Barnet council commented, “The council works closely with landlords to improve the conditions of their properties, but when this is not possible, legal action can be taken which may lead to prosecution or work being completed and costs being passed on to the landlord.” Are you a landlord and unsure of your legal obligations? Talk to us. We are experienced property law specialists and can give you the expert guidance you need. Call 01302 320621 or email business@athertongodfrey.co.uk

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