Warwick Council has handed out its first banning order, to rogue landlord Grzegorz Surminski who sub-let a dangerous and unlicensed HMO.
A First Tier Tribunal Property heard that officers inspected his property on St Brides Close, Leamington Spa (pictured), in 2022 and found it had been sub-let by Surminski as an eight-room HMO.
The unlicensed property, which he bought in 2007 for £170,000 as a three-bedroom house, had no fire precautions, was overcrowded and in serious disrepair.
Surminski was prosecuted at Coventry Magistrates Court in September 2022 for failing to licence the HMO, failing to comply with an improvement notice, breaches of the HMO management regulations and failure to comply with a requisition for information notice. He was fined £31,000.
The tribunal heard that the council’s private sector housing team had been concerned for some time about Surminski’s poor letting practices; he had also been operating as Leamington Rooms Ltd. The Coventry-based firm's listing on Companies House shows it is behind in all its key paperwork including annual accounts.
Officers investigated cases of illegal eviction, but the tenants often felt intimidated and were not prepared to give evidence in court.
The banning order, which takes effect from 19th December, bans Surminski from letting property or engaging in letting agency or property management work across the country for three years.
Councillor Paul Wightman, portfolio holder for housing services, says: “This clearly sends a strong message to private landlords and others engaged in letting property that the council will not tolerate those who ignore their legal responsibilities and show a blatant disregard for the health, safety, and welfare of their tenants.”
It is asking anyone who becomes aware of Surminski letting property anywhere in England to contact them confidentially on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01926 456359.
Pic credit: Rightmove