Two landlords – one of them an agent – have been given fines totalling £135,000 and must pay costs for failing to maintain and licence privately let homes.
Mohammed Bhatti, aka Mohammed Muqeem Amin – the sole director of the Property Ladder London agency – has pleaded guilty to 12 charges in relation to breaches of management regulations at a number of properties in Leyton, as well as failing to license one of the homes.
During inspections of the properties, officers from Waltham Forest discovered a wide range of serious issues including a lack of fire alarms, dangerous sockets, and blocked drains.
Showers and sinks were cracked and filthy, and access to the top-floor flat was only possible via a dangerous staircase. Inspectors described it as one of the worst examples they had come across.
In court, the judge expressed particular concern about the lack of fire alarms and fire doors, highlighting concerns by the London Fire Brigade which led to the initial inspection, and imposed £55,0000 in fines for the breach of management regs and failure to provide documents, based on £5,000 per offence.
An additional fine of £20,000 for the failure to licence the top-floor flat, added to £6,949.51 in prosecution costs with a £190 victim surcharge, means Bhatti must pay a total of £82,139.51 within six months.
At a separate hearing on the same day, Balmick Seegolam of Leyton pleaded guilty to three charges in relation to failing to license Houses in Multiple Occupation.
After being refused planning permission for an extension Seegolam applied for a licence and revealed he already had tenants living there despite it being, in his own words, “small and not in great condition”.
After blaming a previous management agent for the HMOs not being correctly licensed, Seegolam also suggested tenants were at fault for dangerously unhygienic conditions and blocked hallways that could have posed a risk to life in an emergency.
Taking on board Seegolam’s guilty plea, the court fined him £60,000 in total – that’s £20,000 for each one of the charges – with costs of £3,366 and a victim surcharge of £190 making a total of £63,556 to be paid by Seegolam within three months.
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.