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Agent fined £50k for breaching safety regulations in unlicensed property

SDV HQ Limited, trading as Sterling de Vere, has been ordered to pay more than £50,000 after letting an overcrowded flat with no heating, a leaking boiler and a lack of fire precautions.

The firm, based in Poplar, east London, were fined £46,620 and ordered to pay £7,000 in costs after pleading guilty at Thames Magistrates Court for failing to apply for a landlord licence and breaching safety regulations.

Officers at Tower Hamlets Council visited the flat in Benson House, Ligonier Street in Shoreditch last year, following a number of complaints by residents in relation to their living conditions.

The flat, originally a three-bedroom council property, had been converted into a five-bedroom unit, occupied by six people, without consent.

To increase the rent that could be charged, the landlord had converted the living room into a bedroom and split one room into two.

The court heard that SDV were receiving £3,250 per calendar month in rent from the tenants occupying the property.

When inspecting the flat, officers found a leaking boiler, inadequate fire precautions, a lack of bins, and broken window cords.

“This case shows our determination to prosecute even the biggest landlords who flout the rules,” said Tower Hamlets’ mayor John Biggs.

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