Husband and wife house in multiple occupation landlords Abdul Kalam and Jahanara Begum must pay a record £39,000 compensation to six students for running an illegal shared house.
Magistrates at Highbury Corner, North London, convicted the pair of HMO and fire safety offences in June 2012, when they were ordered to pay fines and costs of £9,000.
Following the court decision, Camden Council helped the six student tenants apply to the Residential Property Tribunal Service for the refund of the last 12 month’s rent they had paid.
The tribunal awarded them £6,500 each – which is believed to be the biggest award ever ordered by the tribunal.
The students had lived in an overcrowded four-bedroom home in Castlehaven Road, Kentish Town, North London.
The council argued in court the property was overcrowded, had low fire safety precautions and the owners had failed to apply for a mandatory HMO licence for properties shared by six or more tenants sharing kitchens and bathrooms.
The claim was upheld by the tribunal, who ordered the landlords to pay the compensation in 28 days. This payment is in addition to fines and costs the couple have already incurred.
Councillor Julian Fulbrook, cabinet member for housing, said: “This is a clear case where the landlord had no concern for his tenants’ safety, and his only thought was lining his pockets with rent from the students.
“Camden Council will use all our available powers to continue to crack down on unscrupulous landlords and make accommodation in Camden safer for tenants.”
Meanwhile, Thomas James Lettings Limited must pay fines and costs of £2,521 after admitting renting an unlicensed HMO to students in Nottingham.
The firm was also fined for a similar offence in January 2011, when magistrates ordered them to pay fines and costs of £10,347.
Property owner Giuliano Biondi, also admitted letting an unlicensed HMO and was fined £600, and ordered to pay £520 costs by Nottingham magistrates.