Rogue Brockley landlord fined for stuffing property

Lewisham Council reports (via Cllr Foxcroft):

An unlicensed landlord has been prosecuted by Lewisham Council for failing to comply with House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) regulations.

The prosecution was brought against Mustafa Kemal Mustafa who did not apply for an HMO licence on a property in Millmark Grove, Brockley.

An inspection of the property revealed at least ten people living at the address, sharing an unfinished kitchen, bathrooms and occupying rooms not deemed large enough for the number of occupants. Unrelated tenants were also found to be sharing rooms.

Mr Mustafa maintained that the property was being used as a hostel providing temporary emergency accommodation. Despite pleading not guilty, Mr Mustafa of Briar Lane, West Wickham was convicted at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on 26 February and fined £7,500 for contravening section 72(1) of the Housing Act 2004 (committing an offence for failing to licence a house in multiple occupation). He was also ordered to pay £925 costs.

Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: "This prosecution will serve as a warning to unscrupulous landlords who fail to ensure their properties conform to legal requirements. The Council will bring them to book to protect the health, safety and welfare of tenants living in private rented accommodation."

Private landlords can find out more about their legal responsibilities, licensing and HMO standards – visit and search for ’HMO’, or contact the Lewisham Council Environmental Health Team on 020 8314 6420.


Ffff said...

An eight and a half grand fine? What sort of warning is that?

If a landlord runs a couple of these properties, that's only a few week's rent.

I bet anyone else running this sort of shit will look at that fine and think that it's probably worth the risk if being caught, at that price....

plates said...

A £7500 fine? As effective as fining a premiership footballer a weeks wages.

AliAliAfro said...

I wonder how they set the fine size - this hardly sends a message.

Just a guess but 10 occupants paying £375 a month = £3750
Ignoring any mortgage/letting costs the fine is equivalent to 2 months income from this property.
Dodgy landlords may well be thinking that this fine represents is a small risk compared to the higher income that can be achieved if the rules are ignored.
And I don't think the guy can be banned from being a landlord so whats to stop him doing the same again.

Brian Godfrey said...

A pretty weak penalty in my opinion. If they can't levy a heftier fine or impose a jail term on the guy, they should at least seek to serve a property ASBO to stop him letting in the future.

Anon said...

...and it's places like Lewisham that will suffer most from the changes in planning laws.

Anonymous said...

I doubt they were paying £375 a month. That's enough rent for a not overcrowded room! Though I do agree the fine is too small.

Who is to blame? said...

There is another world in London of people working long hours for minimal wages and living in crowded accommodation like this. Sometimes their legal status to work is questionable and those who live in such houses live in fear of early morning raids by Border Agency and Police.

Yet the London economy relies upon this unquestioning underclass. Rogue employers, rogue landlords and large companies who collude to buy contract labour through a cascade of agencies which arrange accommodation and transport for this hidden workforce.

I guess many of you working in offices up town give little thought to who do all the menial jobs that keep these places going. The new housing benefit regulations will mean far less affordable housing for the low paid in many richer parts of London. There is a knock on effect and guess this is hitting SE London. People on low pay have to live somewhere and the cost of public transport is excessive. So we are going to see a great deal more of this sort of thing.

The fault lies with employers who drive down contract labour costs. Overcrowded housing, rip off deductions for mini-bus to work and long hours. Only foreign workers with a poor command of English and an uncertain legal status are so desperate that they are willing to do these jobs and live like this. They, of course, don't vote. So they are fair game for all kinds of imaginative sanctions from our hypocritical politicians.

It is unsurprising that Brockley has its share of rogue landlords packing people into crowed living spaces. They are not difficult to spot.

They are an inevitable consequence of a high demand for lots of very low paid jobs and ridiculously high rental rates created by a mismanaged housing stock. A situation we accept and think to be normal.

Rose Bud said...

i wonder what happened to the tenants. Hope they have been rehoused somewhere decent.

terrencetrentderby said...

Seemed like an honest answer to the housing shortage.

Where will they all live now?

vander pier said...

Don't believe everything you read I have first hand experience on this particular case, the News columnist has got it completely wrong, I know this person personally.

The people this person or organisation houses are homeless
individuals, he deals with the most chaotic of the chaotic that no one else wants.

He runs some of he's buildings as Homeless shelters for Homeless people, he believed it should not be classified as a HMO as it was a Shelter, this fight was about whether he was a HMO or NOT nothing else, it wasn’t about him being a rogue Landlord, she obviously knows nothing about the work this chap does.

The Building in question is a wet house and used by people who
have drink and alcohol issues.

The reason I know so much about this matter is because I
used to live at this address as used to have drink issues and was sleeping rough, the council didn’t help me but this chap and he’s people did, I have not relapsed now in over 7 months thanks to he's support and help.

This matter was challenged by the Landlord up to CROWN COURT
LEVEL with senior Barristers as representatives, the council almost lost this case but as the occupants were staying there over an extended period it was decided it could not be classified as a shelter.

He houses a Large number of Homeless people that no one else
wants to deal with this man should be praised.

I have spoken to him about this article and he had no idea it even existed till I told him.
My understanding is he is taking legal action against
the columnist of this article.

Fight for your belief said...

From looking at the comments this is obviously someone who has no fear of the council and will take them on at there own game, we all need to learn from this.
As we seem to forget something, the council have no real powers, they are not the police although they may act as if they are, they are just another company a business as my earlier friend said.

Anon said...

This landlord may feature on Panorama tonight, BBC 1 at 8:30 pm.

Brockley Central Label Cloud