An unlicensed HMO landlord has been ordered to pay more than £25,000 after appearing in court.
Emmil Seeson Watson (also known as Emil Wayne Watson) failed to have the required licence for the number of tenants living in his property, and also failed to carry out gas safety checks.
He pleaded guilty to five charges under the Housing Act 2004 at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court last week.
On 8 October 2014 environmental health officers from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea visited 15 Bramley Road, London, W10, owned by Watson who lives in Reading. The visit followed complaints from tenants about a leaking roof they could not get repaired as they were unable to contact Watson.
Up to seven tenants were living in the house, despite Watson not having a HMO licence as required by the Housing Act 2004.
The court heard that Watson had gone out of his way to avoid cooperating with the council and had made himself very difficult to contact. He had refused to obtain the proper licence despite two previous warnings.
Three emergencies had occurred at the house since 2012 including a leak that caused a ceiling to collapse and a window that needed repair after a burglary. Tenants were forced to complain to the emergency services and the council because Watson could not be reached.
Watson told the court that had he licensed the property he would have had to raise the rents, whereas some rents had stayed the same for some years. He also stated that he paid the bills out of the rents he took. He also said he was not replacing the tenants who had left, therefore reducing the number of people living at the property which would mean it would not need to be licensed.
The chairwoman of the bench said Watson had put his tenants in danger and failed to follow clear warnings from the council regarding the licensing of the property.
A spokesperson for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said: “The council will take action against landlords who deliberately avoid their legal obligations and who make life difficult for their tenants. We are very pleased that the court fully supported the action taken by the council and trust that the prosecution will act as a deterrent to other landlords who do not take their responsibilities seriously.”
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