A landlord has been fined more than £45,000 after 12 people were found living in slum-like conditions in a four storey maisonette over a restaurant licensed for a maximum of nine occupants.
At Brighton Magistrates last week, landlord Muharrem Kartal was found guilty of over-crowding, letting rooms in Hove which he had been told were too small to be occupied, and for failing to maintain shared kitchens and bathrooms in a safe and working condition.
Kartal pleaded guilty to three other charges at the end of last year, including failing to ensure that fire escapes were maintained and free from obstruction, and fire equipment and alarms were in good working order.
The breaches of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) licensing conditions and management regulations all refer to 28A Church Road in Hove – a four storey maisonette, which the landlord had previously been prosecuted for not licensing, in addition to breaches of food hygiene legislation in another restaurant run by him.
Kartal was fined £43,680, which was the equivalent of one year’s rental income, and also ordered to pay £1,800 costs to the council and a £170 victim surcharge.
Councillor Anne Meadows, chair of the city’s Housing & New Homes Committee, said: “This case highlights the importance of enforcing HMO licensing and regulations in the city. Residents in this property were not only living in over-crowded conditions without basic facilities, their lives were put in danger by an unscrupulous landlord taking their rent with little apparent concern for the safety of his tenants.
“That the case went to trial shows how serious theses offences were and I’d like to thank our officers for their diligent work in pressing the case and the evidence they presented in court that resulted in the convictions.
“We have licensed nearly 3,500 HMOs in the city and we inspect all properties as part of the process. HMO Licensing has ensured thousands of properties are properly managed and safer for residents.
“We will continue to take action against any properties not up to standard to protect our residents and I urge all owners and agents to ensure they meet legal requirements.”