A husband and wife have been issued with fines, penalties and costs totalling more than £8,000 after showing a complete disregard for the health and safety of their tenants.
The couple were successfully prosecuted for contravening a notice of overcrowding and a prohibition order served on them for a property they own and rent out in Erith, Kent.
Bexley Magistrates heard that the bungalow, owned by Abul Azad and his wife, Ashrafi, had attracted a number of complaints about overcrowding, noise and the generation or rubbish.
A notice of overcrowding was issued on the property in mid-2016 following an inspection, when the bungalow was found to be housing 17 beds, including both sides of the roof space, despite the fact that maximum of up to eight people were permitted to live in the whole of the property.
Bexley Council had advised Azad not to re-let the property without notifying the Council first, but he ignored the advice.
Following a fire at the property, council officers visited the property on September 2016 and found four people living there, despite extensive damage caused by the fire, making the staircase unsafe and the house uninhabitable.
Consequently, a prohibition order was issued to prevent the property being re-let until all necessary remedial works had been carried out.
However, council officers found that the property was being occupied by nine people without consent when they randomly visited the property on 12 April 2017.
A further inspection was made on 5 April 2018, when the council officers discovered 15 bed spaces, three of which were in the living room, while there was also a ouble mattress under the stair case.
The Azads both pleaded guilty to charges of contravening the still active notice of overcrowding and the Prohibition Order.
Mr Azad was eventually fined £1,660 for contravening the overcrowding notice and £3,300 for contravening the prohibition order. He was ordered to pay £200 legal costs and £890.44 investigative costs. He has since also been ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170.
Mrs Azad was later fined £1,000 for contravening the prohibition order and ordered to pay £200 legal costs; £890.44 investigative costs and a victim surcharge of £100. There was no separate penalty for the first charge of contravening the notice.
Cllr Peter Craske, cabinet member for Places at Bexley Council, said: “I am delighted with this successful prosecution. Bexley has no hesitation in prosecuting greedy landlords who have complete disregard for the health and safety of their tenants.
“These two ignored advice and guidance by our officers aimed at helping them rent their property legally and safely - and then went on to flagrantly flout the Over-Crowding Notice and Prohibition Order which were rightly issued.
“They are very lucky that they weren't facing far more serious charges, which they would have been had anyone been killed or injured due to their total negligence.”