A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay a £60,170 fine and £6,000 court costs after being found guilty of making tenants’ lives a misery.
The fine is the biggest financial penalty that Brent Council in London has secured to date.
The council says it is a reflection of the “truly appalling conditions” tenants were living in.
Hugo Pulqueiro sent in the heavies to remove the belongings of one of his tenants and change the locks to kick her out after she complained of the deteriorating conditions inside the overcrowded flat she was sharing with six other tenants in Willesden.
Council enforcement officers raided the property after seeing a video filmed by the victim who found herself homeless and her belongings damaged outside the flat one freezing winter’s night in February.
Inside the four-bedroom flat, Pulqueiro had created a partition wall down the middle of two single rooms to create two illegal micro-rooms that he then let to more tenants.
He failed to give his tenants written agreements, depriving them of their rights, and sent different strangers to collect their rent in cash at irregular times during the week. His tenants told officers that they had never even met their landlord and that they did not know how many people had keys to their home.
Pulqueiro also neglected to protect his tenants’ deposits, failed to meet fire safety regulations and ignored his responsibility to maintain the property to a liveable standard. The fire service was called to the property to put out a blaze a week before the enforcement officers’ raid.
Pulqueiro was found guilty of licensing breaches at Willesden Magistrates Court.
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “This is an absolutely shocking case and it’s appalling that Mr Pulqueiro believed he could get away with such gross mistreatment of his tenants.”