A letting agent named in a case concerning a rat-infested House in Multiple Occupation in Leytonstone, East London, has been fined £75,000.
In total, fines totalling £85,000 plus £3,000 have been levied in a case at Thames Magistrates Court.
The court heard that the rat-infested property in London E11 was occupied by 15 people instead of the permitted five and was, in the words of the council, a risk to the occupiers and a persistent eyesore and nuisance to local residents.
The court also heard that the property had been handed to an agent, Asjit Singh Teja – director of J Amber Properties Ltd – for a sum of £2,000 per month. The firm in turn passed the property to Mamataj Konica for the sum of £3,000 per month. Konica then let out the property as bedsits for an estimated rental income of more than £4,000 per month.
Teja and Konica failed to licence the property under Waltham Forest council’s property licensing scheme and were fined £75,000 and £10,000 respectively for their roles. Costs of more than £3,000 were also awarded to the council.
“This is one of the worst cases of landlords disregarding the law and using people to make money that I have seen. This kind of thing can’t be tolerated. The reason we have a licencing scheme is to protect people from unscrupulous landlords. In addition to this, because of the terrible state of the home, and the number of occupants inside, it also created additional problems for other residents through noise and rubbish” says a council spokesman.
In the courtroom, the judge said: “These are serious matters. One of the principles of sentencing is that criminals, and that is what both of you are, should not enrich themselves from the proceeds of their crime. We cannot let people who are obtaining money from vulnerable people get away with it, because they say it is someone else’s fault. I believe that you are both manipulative, deceptive and have tried to cast away the blame.”