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Rogue landlord taken to court by second council in two years

A London council has prosecuted a rogue landlord and his associated property firm for letting unsafe properties and being unlicensed - and the fines and costs top £33,000.

A Magistrates’ Court heard the case against Pedro Reis Tenajas and London Corporate Relocation; neither Tenajas – who was fined £22,000 by Tower Hamlets council in 2019 for issuing sham licenses – nor his co-defendant attended.

In their absence, the court heard from Merton council’s legal team how the defendants had failed to apply for the correct license to rent out a property in Wimbledon Park as a house in multiple occupation.

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Further charges were made that they had failed to legally act as landlords, had not provided information to the property’s occupiers, and had now carried out the legally required safety measures for an HMO.

Magistrates found the case to be proven against Tenajas and noted that the failings were extremely serious, and had potentially put lives at risk. 

They also said the company had been uncooperative and obstructive, and had provided no company accounts.

London Corporate Relocation was ordered to pay fines and costs amounting to £21,750 to be paid within 28 days, while Tenajas was slapped with a total of £11,530 to pay in the same time span, with a collection order applied to him.

 

A Merton Council representative says: “Merton will continue to aggressively pursue such cases through the courts and take tough action against landlords who wilfully flout the law. I would like to thank our housing enforcement and legal teams for all their hard work in this and other cases.”

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    This is not a story of a Council's success prosecuting a rogue LL but one of failure of LAs preventing disgraced LLs from simply moving to another area and repeating their behaviour!

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    We simply do not know whether the defendant is guilty or not as the defendants did not defend themselves. The resulting publicity has done landlords no good. Reading between the lines it appears the defendants could have been operating as serviced accommodation in which case they would not need to license or comply with any of the HMO standards. They may not be guilty of any crime. The fine imposed on Tenajas is less than it would cost to employ a lawyer to defend him and then again there is no certainty he would be successful in his defence if in fact he had a defence. If he had pleaded not guilty and is found guilty the fine would most likely to be more. If acquitted it is very unlikely he would have been able to recover his costs. Tenajas, unless he has assets or income will end up paying the fine at £3 a week. If he had had employed a lawyer he would have to have paid his lawyer up front many thousands of pounds.

    Fining the company was probably pointless as it is most likely a shell company with no assets and will be dissolved and nothing paid .

    Until landlords are given legal aid or assistance these type of cases will continue. Usually the landlord pleads guilty as it is the cheapest and most pragmatic option. In most cases where I have seen landlords mount robust defences the case collapses or they are found not guilty and the landlord is many thousands of pounds out of pocket. The only satisfaction is usually heads role in the council when they lose.

    Sorry I just do not buy the publicity that Tenajas is guilty he maybe but until the system is changed and all defendants are afforded a proper defence I have no faith or trust in the results.

    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO Daddy

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    God help us a Council member thanked the housing team for their hard work, my goodness what hard work are they talking about, they don’t know what a hard days work is, all they have to do is turn up and the decision is theirs. They should stop loosely calling LL’s Rogues until proven, its Slanderous.

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