Poplar landlord pays up £50,000 after letting overcrowded flat with no heating and leaking boiler
PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 September 2018
An estate agent has been forced to pay more than £50,000 after letting an overcrowded flat with no heating and inadequate fire precautions.
SDV HQ Limited in Poplar, trading as Sterling de Vere, were fined £46,620 and ordered to pay £7,000 in costs after pleading guilty at Thames Magistrates Court in July for failing to apply for a landlord licence and breaching safety regulations.
Council officers visited the property in Benson House, Ligonier Street in Shoreditch in spring 2017, after residents complained about their living conditions and said the landlord had ignored requests to carry out repairs.
The flat, a former three-bed council property, had been converted into a five-bed for six people. To maximise the rent that could be charged, the landlord had changed the living room into a bedroom and split one room into two. SDV were receiving £3,250 a month in rent from the property.
Officers found a leaking boiler, inadequate fire precautions, a lack of bins, and broken window cords.
In sentencing, district judge Clark said an overcrowded housing market forced people into accepting sub-standard homes, and SDV should have known their licensing requirements.
Tower Hamlets’ mayor John Biggs said: “I want to pay tribute to the great work that our environmental health and trading standards teams do to protect tenants. This case shows our determination to prosecute even the biggest landlords who flout the rules.”