A landlord has been fined £162,000 after 18 people were found to be living in his ‘unsafe’ Georgian Grade II-listed flat close to Hyde Park.
It transpired that the tenants, who were mostly migrant workers, were paying owner Abbas Rasul around £800 each a month to reside in the converted four-bedroom flat in central London.
Given that the multi-million pound flat had been divided into 14 rooms using fragile plasterboard partitions, Rasul was earning close to £15,000 a month in rental income.
But closer inspection of the property found that the tenants were all squeezed into the converted property with no fire doors, smoke detectors or alarms in the flat, which had one kitchen shared by all the tenants.
What’s more, the court was informed that the gas boiler had not been serviced and it had a cracked flue which was dangerous.
Rock Feilding-Mellen, deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, insisted that “this type of landlord has no place anywhere, and in Kensington and Chelsea we will do our utmost to crack down on them”.
On sentencing, the magistrates said: “We have paid particular attention in our sentencing to the matters we deemed with overriding concern of potential immediate dangers, those being the fire safety hazards.
“In coming to our decision we took into consideration there had been a lack of compliance over a considerable amount of time and an attempt to obstruct officers in their investigations.
“There is evidence of substantial disregard of their obligation to protect the tenants while they are living at the property.”