A court has ruled that a rogue landlord was in breach of House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) management regulations after finding him guilty of 23 separate charges.
Mr Abbas Rasul was found to have ‘crammed 18 tenants’ into his central London flat – a Grade II listed building which Mr Rasul had failed to license as a HMO.
A Court heard that Mr Rasul was listed as the sole shareholder of Grosvenor Property Investments Ltd and London Victoria Estates Ltd – and charged his tenants approximately £800 per month each to live in 14 rooms ‘poorly divided with plasterboard’.
Inspections at the property revealed a dangerous boiler with a cracked flue, a complete lack of smoke detectors or fire exits and insufficient electrical wiring.
According to reports, extension leads were stretched around plasterboard partitions Mr Rasul had installed in order to create artificial ‘rooms’ within the property.
Mr Rasul and his two companies were ordered to pay fines of £162,000 and costs of almost £3,500, after the rogue landlord was found guilty of running an HMO without a licence, and 22 other breaches of HMO management regulations.
Commenting on the case, Hammersmith Magistrates said: “In coming to our decision we took into consideration there had been a lack of compliance over a considerable amount of time and an attempt to obstruct officers in their investigations.
“We have paid particular attention in our sentencing to the matters we deemed with overriding concern of potential immediate dangers, those being the fire safety hazards. “There is evidence of substantial disregard of their obligation to protect the tenants whilst they are living at the property”.
Mark Harris, a solicitor with Palmers, who has particular expertise in landlord and tenant litigation issues, said: “This particular case demonstrates a total disregard for HMO regulations. Most HMO breaches are not as extreme or blatant, with many landlords falling foul of the regulations as a result of ignorance or a misunderstanding of the law. Landlords who have HMO properties or are considering the conversion of a single dwelling into a HMO should seek legal advice to ensure that they comply.”
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