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Absentee landlord to pay tenants £10k over mouldy, unlicenced property

rent repayment order brent

Three tenants have pocketed £10,060 between them after winning a rent repayment order against their landlord for letting out a mouldy HMO with “lamentable” fire safety.

A First Tier Property Tribunal heard that while three students lived at the three-bedroom garden flat in Odessa Road, London (main picture), it suffered from a litany of problems including a bad leak in one of the bedrooms.

Although it came under Brent Council’s additional licensing scheme, it had no licence until March 2023.

The tenants did not have bedroom keys and the locks made it possible for them to lock themselves out. A gas safety certificate and electrical installation periodic report were not supplied to the council and there were no adjustable thermostats on the room radiators.

The tenants gave evidence that there were no effective fire alarms, no fire (or any) door between the kitchen and the rest of the flat, as well as a lack of emergency lighting.

Black mould

The bedroom leak persisted for the entire tenancy, despite a number of visits (often on less than 24 hours’ notice) by a contractor, and some failed attempts at spot repairs. This resulted in black mould, making the room unsuitable for use.

None of the tenants had been in rent arrears or received any complaints about their behaviour during the tenancy.

Landlord Mr C Ifeayni – who did not take part in the tribunal proceedings – was believed to live abroad.

The tribunal ruled: “Our conclusion is that this is at the higher end of the spectrum of seriousness. The state of the fire safety provision was lamentable…these are very serious defects in what must be the most important single responsibility of a landlord.”

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