A private tenant occupying a three-bedroom house in north-west London has been jailed after he was caught illegally subletting the property to 35 men.
The residents had been cramped into every room other than the bathrooms with bedding. Even the kitchen contained a sleeping area, while another mattress was found laid out under a canopy in the back garden with no protection against the night temperatures.
Gheorghe-Valentin Lingurar and Ilie Florin Dragusin, two of the three tenants who were responsible for cramming the men into the semi-detached property in Winchester Avenue, NW9, in September last year, have already received fines totalling more than £20,000.
The third defendant, Ana Maria Pricop, received a £1,000 sentence for failing to respond to officers’ requests for information regarding the property. She was also ordered to pay £1,350 in costs and victim surcharges.
However, Dragusin, seen as the ringleader, has been handed a custodial sentence for unlawful eviction, after he changed the locks, denying those subletting the property access to their home.
The sentence is the second jail term Brent Council has seen brought against a person for unlawful eviction since licensing came into force at the end of 2015.
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, head of housing at Brent Council, commented: “This custodial sentence sends a strong message to anyone thinking that they can get away with illegally evicting their tenants. The punishment is prison.
“We will help people in the private rented sector who are suffering from the actions of rogue landlords, subletters and agents.”