Landlord and property agent fined for breaching bedsit regulation

Published: 13 November 2015

A landlord and his managing agent who failed to declare they were operating a series of bedsits at an address in Tooting have been prosecuted and fined following legal action by Wandsworth Council.

Owner Javaid Akhtar and the agent Zahoor Mansoor failed to disclose that they were renting out eight bedsits in a three storey end-of-terrace house in Rectory Lane.

Owners and managing agents of properties like this are both legally required to ensure that an HMO licence (House in Multiple Occupation) has been applied for. This ensures that where large numbers of non-related people live under the same roof, the building can be inspected to make sure it is safe, not overcrowded and complies with fire safety regulations.

Because they had not applied for a licence both men pleaded guilty to breaching the Housing Act 2004 when they appeared before magistrates. Mr Akhtar was ordered to pay £7,120 in fines and court costs and Mr Mansoor £2,550.

The case was brought to court by the council’s private sector housing team which provides specialist advice to both landlords and tenants to ensure that privately rented accommodation in the borough is safe, secure and affordable. 

The team provides an extensive range of help and advice on issues like overcrowding, HMO licensing, blocked drains, broken boilers, pests, damp/mould and fire safety. This helps landlords comply with the law and tenants to better understand their rights.
 
As well as providing help and advice, the team last year responded to 728 requests for assistance and served 171 legal notices to landlords to ensure that the privately rented accommodation in Wandsworth was maintained to a decent standard.

Housing spokesman Cllr Paul Ellis said: “This legislation was introduced to make sure that tenants are fully protected from potentially unscrupulous landlords who might want to make unreasonable profits by cramming in too many tenants or by cutting corners on fire safety.

“It is vitally important that homes that have been converted into multiple flats or bedsits are maintained to a high standard and that all the necessary safety measures are met in full. Tenants considering renting out this type of accommodation should always ask to see the owner’s HMO license.”

The council’s website has more information about tenants’ rights and landlord responsibilities. To get in touch with the private sector housing team please email privatehousing@wandsworth.gov.uk.