A landlord in Edgware has been fined thousands of pounds for failing to equip a house, which was home to 12 people, with an adequate means of escape should there be a fire, according to a report by North London Today.
The landlord was ordered to appear at Willesden Magistrates' Court after the council was alerted to his unscrupulous practices by suspicious neighbours. They contacted Barnet Council after noticing a large number of people using the property. They estimated that 10 people were living there, but it was later found that 12 people were actually housed in the semi-detached property on Oakwood Drive in Edgware.
All landlords have a duty to provide adequate standards of accommodation to their tenants. As part of this duty, landlord’s insurance is a requirement of all rented apartments or houses.
As part of a crackdown on houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), Barnet Council ordered the landlord to pay £5,000 after he admitted to failing to hold the right license for the property and for failing to ensure there was a proper fire escape for the tenants. A two-year-old child was among the tenants living in the poorly-managed property, Environmental Health officers discovered.
A spokesperson for Barnet Council told North London Today: “Officers found seven rooms let out to 12 tenants — there was no satisfactory means of escape from fire and the communal kitchen on the ground floor did not have a door to separate it from the hall.”
As a result of the crackdown on such properties, Barnet Council has reaped £200,000 in fines from landlords since March.
The chairman of Barnet Council’s housing committee, Councillor Tom Davey, said: “With so much pressure on the private sector Barnet Council is keen to ensure that all landlords take their responsibilities seriously and meet legal requirements to ensure the safety of their tenants. Enforcement action will continue to be taken against all landlords who break the law.”