Landlord and letting agent both fined over illegal HMO

A landlord and his letting agent have both been fined for a number of offences relating to an illegally established house in multiple occupation.

Oner Arslanboga, the owner of the property in Woolwich, London, and South East Residentials Limited, were found guilty of failing to license an HMO, being in breach of the Housing Act 2004 and failing to comply with Management of HMOs (England) Regulations 2006.

The premises first came to the attention of the Royal Borough of Greenwich in 2013 when environmental health officers suspected that the premises constituted an unlicensed HMO and served an Improvement Notice.

The then owner claimed that it was not an HMO and applied for a temporary exemption notice so that the premises did not require to be licensed.

The premises came to the attention of the council again in June last year as a result of communication from a tenant where the description of the poor living conditions led to the assessment that it was unequivocally being used as an HMO.

Environmental health officers extensively re-inspected the premises in August.

Three tenants were present during the inspection and they all confirmed that they paid rent to Arslanboga.

The inspection revealed that all five rooms were occupied by at least one person unrelated to the occupants of the other rooms.

Most of the rooms failed to comply with even basic housing regulations, with missing smoke detectors and widespread use of socket adaptors.

Ahmed Kawsar, representing South East Residentials, previously claimed that, as the managing agent, they were not informed of the council inspection by the owner.

He also claimed that he had informed the owner of the works that needed to be carried out, but Arslanboga refused to pay for the HMO licence and works as it was ‘expensive’.

The court fined Arslanboga £5,600 and ordered him to pay prosecution costs of £750 as well as a victim’s surcharge of £120. South East Residentials were fined £1,750, prosecution costs totalling £375 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Cllr Jackie Smith, cabinet member for community safety and environment, said: “The Royal Borough of Greenwich is sending a clear message that rogue landlords will absolutely not be tolerated in this borough.

“We are taking a proactive approach across the council to tackle this issue and are increasingly honing in on this minority of landlords who think that they are above the law.”


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