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Posted on January 29th 2016 by admin-movingin

Landlord prosecuted after gangmasters’ authority reports concerns on HMO

Original Author: Rosalind Renshaw

Magistrates have handed out an £8,500 fine to a landlord who admitted renting out a sub-standard house to ten people.

In a second case, a landlord has been ordered to pay over £160,000 over a case where a tenant apparently slept on the sofa.

At Truro magistrates court, Marc Potter pleaded guilty to four cases of failure to comply with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Regulations Act 2006.

He was also ordered to pay the fine plus court costs of £5,119 and a victim surcharge of £120.

The Cornish Guardian reported that Cornwall Council’s private sector housing team had responded to concerns about the property that had been raised by the Gang Master Licensing Authority – a non-departmental public body that regulates businesses which provide workers to the fresh produce supply chain and horticulture industry.

During their inspection council officers found the property to be poorly managed and said there were immediate and serious risks of harm to the ten people living there from fire and electrical hazards.

Additionally the gas central heating boiler was uncertified and its flue had been encased within a plastic flower pot.

As a result the council took emergency remedial action to protect the tenants.

Cllr Joyce Duffin, council cabinet member for housing and the environment, said that the successful prosecution sends a clear message to rogue landlords.

In the second, unconnected, case, London landlord Olanrewaju Sharomi, 47, was ordered to pay more than £16,000 at Thames Magistrates’ Court in a case brought by Newham Council.

The case apparently revolved around a tenant who slept in the sitting room.

Sharomi was found guilty after trial of managing unlicensed residential accommodation which was required to be licensed, as well as knowingly supplying false or misleading information to a housing authority.

The court heard that Sharomi had been renting out her property in Stratford, east London, since 2013. Two of her four children had been living with her and one further tenant in the two-bedroom property.

The prosecution said the tenant “must have been living in the living room”, adding: “The point [of the licensing scheme] is that landlords are not benefiting financially from unscrupulous behaviour.

“We live in an age whereby people unscrupulously rent out property to vulnerable people. They take money from people living in inadequate and often unsafe situations – this is why these licence provisions are very important.”

Chairman of the bench Aneeta Prem said: “We have taken into account the circumstances of this offence and the fact that it had to go to trial.”

She sentenced Sharomi to £10,000 for the first offence and £3,000 for the second. Sharomi was also ordered to pay court costs of £3,491 and a victim surcharge of £120.