A notorious rogue landlord and his property management company have been handed a staggering £480,000 fine for renting out an HMO so damp that mushrooms were growing on the upper floors.
Blackstone Properties Management Ltd and director Mohamed Ali Rasool were found guilty at Westminster Magistrate Court of putting tenants at risk by renting out a 22-bedroom property riddled with fire risks and damp.
Following a complaint from a tenant in 2020, Kensington & Chelsea Council began an investigation which discovered Rasool had no licence for the HMO in the upmarket community of Hyde Park Gate (pictured) in West London.
Despite repeated warnings, he did not apply for a licence and the council conducted a dawn raid with the Met Police and London Fire Brigade in 2021.
Officers found defective and damaged fire doors, inadequate fire separation between bedrooms and protection in the boiler room or lobby, covered fire alarms, and burnt out and loose electrical sockets.
There was rising damp and mould growth and single glazed windows with rotten frames, draughts and broken sashes. Tenants were cooking in their room using camping stoves without proper kitchen facilities while the inside was so damp that mushrooms were growing on the upper floors.
Kensington & Chelsea councillor Cem Kemahli, (pictured) lead member for planning and public realm, warns other landlords and agents: “If you are offering poor quality accommodation, we will find you and we will come after you.”
He adds: “Our landlord licensing schemes are seeking out the bad operators to ensure safer homes for everyone and a fairer market for good operators.”
In February 2022, Rasool and three business associates were handed a banning order by Camden Council for letting an unlicensed and unsafe home in Kilburn, while in 2021, he was slapped with the first ASBO injunction against a landlord after harassing and attempting to illegally evict tenants.
Image credit: Knight Frank