Landlord hit with £6,500 costs over filthy property

A landlord has been fined more than £6,500 after police and council officials uncovered filthy and unsanitary rooms and 15 people crammed inside his unlicensed three-storey mid-terrace property.

The rental property in Balham, south London, was also found to be devoid of fire protection, with no mains wired alarm system, no fire doors and no firefighting equipment.

Hassan Akhtar Niazi was prosecuted by Wandsworth Council and charged under the Housing Act.

Council officers had obtained a warrant to enter his flat last August after they were contacted by the UK Border Agency.??It appeared that 15 people were occupying the flat at the time of the inspection while the communal stairway was obstructed by clothes, shoes, furniture, household articles and refuse.

Environmental health officers said the kitchen, bathroom and both toilets were filthy.

During the subsequent council investigation, the owner of the flat was found to be living in Pakistan but officers established that Niazi was the liable party, as he had been receiving rent payments.

Niazi told an environmental health officer he thought there were only two or three people living there.??However, at Richmond Magistrates’ Court, Niazi pleaded guilty to four offences. He was fined £3,000 for failing to license a house in multiple occupation, £500 for each of the three breaches of the Management of HMO Regulations, a £15 victim surcharge and £2,108 costs.