A rogue landlord who let out an unlicensed HMO with no working kitchen, unusable toilets, blocked drains and rats, has been fined a whopping �175,000.
Adam Ali had turned the former Anchor Hotel in Cobham Road, Westcliff-on-Sea (pictured), into an HMO where 18 tenants paid a total of more than �5,800 rent each month to Coastal Living Southend Ltd to live in 11 of the 15 bedrooms.
Neighbours reported anti-social behaviour, drug use, poor living conditions and rats to Southend-on-Sea Council.
It found that the property was seriously dilapidated, with no working kitchen, unusable toilets, interrupted gas supply, blocked drains and restricted fire escapes.
It was in such a bad state that an emergency prohibition order was served which closed the property immediately, and all 18 tenants were housed in emergency accommodation.
The council's investigation took some time because the people involved had created a complex web of different limited companies and names. It was finally established that Adam Ali of Trulea Estates Ltd, trading as Coastal Living Southend Ltd, operated the premises under a short-term agreement with M F Gregory Ltd.
At a hearing at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court, Ali and the three companies involved were fined a total of �152,900, with �21,872 costs and �680 victim surcharge. The judge said the fine was, 'both a deterrent for naive and incompetent landlords as well as a deterrent to company directors'�.
Councillor Martin Terry (pictured), cabinet member for public protection, says it was unbelievable that those involved were able to operate in such a heartless way, exploiting residents and providing squalid living conditions.
He adds: 'I want to thank the regulatory team for their hard work in securing the evidence that led to this prosecution and thanks to the court system for making an example of Mr Ali. It's rogue landlords like him that cause such issues within the private rental market.'�
Read more:Complete guide to running an HMO.