Two brothers who as landlords put the lives of their tenants at risk have been fined £2,800 each following a prosecution brought by Southwark council.

The brothers, owners of a Walworth premises and two floors of bedsits above, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Management of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) Regulations 2006 at  Croydon magistrates court. They were both found guilty and fined £2,800 each and £280 in costs.

The case was brought to trial following “damning inspections” by Southwark council said a council statement.

“Officers found several alarming HMO regulations breaches including: failure to provide adequate fire alarm systems and substandard conditions in the communal areas where officers found mould and damp in the bathrooms.

“Despite numerous warnings from the council about the poor housing conditions, the brothers failed to make adequate improvements. “The council was then faced with no other option but to opt for court action.”

Southwark’s cabinet member for housing Cllr Richard Livingstone said: “People living in HMOs, for instance bed-sits, tend to have the least ability to choose their housing and often have no choice but to put up with substandard living conditions.

“This is absolutely unacceptable and is why, as a council, we will work hard to advise and support our most vulnerable residents.

“The brothers failed in their responsibility as a landlord and have rightfully been made to pay for this. “This case signals our commitment to improving residents’ housing situation, irrespective of who their landlord is.”

In a bid to improve housing condition across the private rented sector, Southwark council say it has recently completed a consultation into proposals to introduce a discretionary licensing scheme and new HMO standards. The council’s current HMO standards were brought in in 1990 and have been adapted regularly to take into account new legislation, a spokesperson added.
(Source: Southwark council press release)

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