A landlord who failed to carry out repairs and safety checks on his property has been ordered to pay more than £25,000. Emmil Watson also allowed more tenants to live in his London Notting Hill property than permitted.
Watson did not have the required HMO licence, but allowed seven tenants to live in the building. He had repeatedly ignored requests for help from the tenants, who complained of a leaking roof and other problems. He had also ensured that he was hard to contact and went out of his way to avoid communication with the council, who were eventually called in when the tenants could not reach him.
Watson admitted five charges under the Housing Act 2004, including failing to carry out a critical gas safety check. He had previously been warned about both the overcrowding in the house and his lack of a proper licence, and various safety issues and damage arising from a serious leak and a burglary that occurred in 2012.
Mr Watson explained to the court that he had not licensed the property because the increased costs involved would have meant he would need to raise rents for the tenants. However, his casual neglect of the property put his tenants at risk of harm, and he was ordered to pay a total of £19,500 in fines and a further £5,700 in legal costs. A spokesperson for the council commented, “We will take action against landlords who deliberately avoid their legal obligations and who make life difficult for their tenants. We are very pleased that the court fully supported the action taken by the council and trust that the prosecution will act as a deterrent to other landlords who do not take their responsibilities seriously.”
The problem of landlords cutting corners is likely to get worse with the withdrawel of tax breaks over the coming years.
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