A rogue landlord and property firm have been slapped with a banning order for letting an unlicensed and unsafe home in King’s Cross, London.
Simple Properties Management Ltd received a five-year ban and the company’s director, Miguel Cabeo Cespedes, was banned for three years from letting properties and being involved with any company carrying out letting or property management work – only the fourth of its kind to be handed out in the capital.
The judgement follows a previous hearing which found them both guilty of housing offences, resulting in a £40,000 fine for the business and a £30,000 fine for Cabeo Cespedes.
Council officers carried out several visits to his Acton Street property (pictured) in May 2019 and found that its kitchen diner had been improperly partitioned to make the two-bedroom flat into a four-bedroom property that was home to five residents, as well as damaged wiring to a washing machine that was left exposed in the property’s bathroom.
Both the fire alarms and fire escapes from the property were inadequate.
Giles Peaker, housing law expert and partner at Anthony Gold, says Simple has been involved in previous court cases involving harassment, unlawful eviction, sham licences and spurious counter allegations.
“The track record of these set-ups is such that one has to believe that ‘London Simple Properties Lifestyle Ltd’ or similar is currently writhing its way to the surface of a fetid pool to be born, with a different sole director,” says Gold.
He explains that companies like Simple rely on a supply of properties from ‘naive, greedy, or lazy property owners and managing agents for their wholly unlawful rent-to-rent activities’.
Adds Gold: “Until property owners realise that they are quite likely to be the ones facing licensing prosecutions and rent repayment order applications, while ‘London Simple Properties Lifestyle’ vanishes with the rent unpaid and a voluntary liquidation, and stop entering these arrangements, there will always be some crook of a ‘property entrepreneur’ happy to try it on.”