Rogue Landlord Fined £40k for Cramming 24 Tenants into House
By |Published On: 18th August 2016|

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Rogue Landlord Fined £40k for Cramming 24 Tenants into House

By |Published On: 18th August 2016|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

A rogue landlord in Wembley has been fined almost £40,000 for cramming 24 tenants into his House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Willesden Magistrates’ Court was told that Tilak Raj Sarna, of George V Avenue in Pinner, initially claimed innocence, but then admitted his guilt after two days of cross examination.

Brent Council granted Sarna a license to house seven tenants at his HMO on Bowrons Avenue, but discovered that 24 people, including seven families with ten young children, were living in the property when housing enforcement officers made an unannounced visit in January 2016.

The squalid conditions discovered at the house include:

  • A cockroach infestation
  • Rogue Landlord Fined £40k for Cramming 24 Tenants into House

    Rogue Landlord Fined £40k for Cramming 24 Tenants into House

    Disregard of basic fire safety measures, such as missing smoke alarms, overloaded electrical sockets and inadequate fire doors

  • Cold and damp rooms
  • Overflowing bins outside the property

Six of the tenants lived in an unheated shed in the house’s back garden until it burnt down in October last year, in a fire caused by a portable heater. The sheer number of people living in the small space exacerbated the blaze, which started while a child was sleeping in the shed.

The court fined Sarna £33,000 for his overcrowding and fire safety offences. He was also ordered to pay costs of £6,420 and a £120 victim surcharge, making a total of £39,540.

Anila Patel, who collected £3,700 in rent each month from the tenants on the landlord’s behalf, was also prosecuted during the case. She was convicted of two offences, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a £90 victim surcharge.

All of the tenants living in the property have now found alternative accommodation.

Councillor Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Lead Member for Housing, says: “This case underlines the necessity of our commitment to ensuring private tenants in our borough have safe, high quality accommodation. In situations like this, unscrupulous landlords are not only taking financial advantage of vulnerable tenants; they’re also placing tenants’ lives in danger.

“We are improving standards in Brent’s private rented properties by working with landlords through our property licensing regime, which helps ensure that tenants do not have to live in filthy, dangerous accommodation.”

The council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Margaret McLennan, also comments: “Where we find serious breaches of the law like this, we will always take landlords and their agents to court. Mr. Sarna had housed a family in the garden shed and had grossly overcrowded the two-storey property, leaving tenants in an unsafe, damp and cockroach-infested house, while taking £3,700 off them each month for the privilege.

“As he had been granted a license, Mr. Sarna knew exactly what was required of him, so we are very pleased that the court shared our view of the seriousness of the offences and imposed such severe penalties.”

Most private landlords in Brent are legally required to obtain a license from the council. Find out more here:

About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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