07 Feb 23

A room-finding portal, along with the owners of a London lettings agency and management firm, must pay over £100,000 for letting an unlicensed and unsafe home.

The agency in question was Simple Properties London Ltd and its associated management firm, Simple Properties Management Ltd.

The companies’ directors were handed £106,000 in fines and costs at Highbury Corner magistrates court.

The prosecution follows on from a series of visits to an apartment by Camden council officers last May; it was identified as an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation with numerous safety issues.

Officers found that the flat’s kitchen diner had been improperly partitioned to make the two bed flat a four bedroom property that was home to five residents.

There was also damaged wiring to a washing machine which was left exposed in the property’s bathroom, while both the fire alarms and fire escapes from the property were found to be inadequate.

The court found Simple Properties Management Ltd guilty of operating an unlicensed HMO and breaching safety regulations resulting in a £40,000 fine and a £30,000 fine for the company’s director, Miguel Cespedes.

Simple Properties London Ltd and its director, Santiago Ferrin, both pleaded guilty to operating the unlicensed HMO in Acton Street and were each fined £18,000.

Roomshub Limited – a third party involved in the letting of the property – plus its director Liv Meijer, were each fined £2,500 for not complying with a Camden council notice requesting legal information.

Roomshub describes itself as a way of letting tenants “find, book and experience the coolest and most convenient flat-shares and house-shares in London.”

A council spokesman says: “Our HMO licensing scheme is improving the standards in Camden’s private housing, empowering renters to take action and helping good landlords to run successful businesses. The prosecution we have seen in this case is a last resort. Our message to landlords and letting agents is that we are here to work with you, and provide advice and assistance first of all, to ensure you can meet your obligations.”

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