28 May 2021
A London council has secured banning orders against rogue property agents who were previously fined over £70,000 for letting an unlicensed and unsafe home.
Simple Properties Management Ltd and the company’s director, Miguel Cabeo Cespedes, were given banning orders prohibiting them from letting any housing and engaging in letting agency or property management work in England.
The judgement was given this week following an online hearing.
The company received a ban for five years and Cespedes for three years: he is also banned from being involved in any company that carries out letting or property management work for that period.
The banning orders will take effect in six months’ time and if breached, penalties can include imprisonment for up to 51 weeks or a court fine, or both or a penalty of up to £30,000.
The judgement follows a previous hearing in February which found Simple Properties Management Ltd and Cespedes guilty of operating an unlicensed HMO and breaching safety regulations resulting in penalties that included a £40,000 fine for the business and a £30,000 fine for Cespedes.
Camden council has now secured three of four banning orders issued in London, including one on a landlord.
This case was brought to court after Camden council officers carried out several visits to a property in May 2019 and identified it as an unlicensed HMO with numerous safety issues.
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, damaged wiring to a washing machine was left exposed in the property’s bathroom and both the fire alarms and fire escapes from the property were found to be inadequate.
A council spokesperson says: “Around a third of Camden residents rent from private landlords and they deserve to live in properly regulated and safe homes. The pandemic has further highlighted the importance of this and the right to a safe and secure home.
“Most landlords are decent law-abiding people however for too long a minority have been able to let housing that may be unfit for human habitation, is overcrowded and in which fire and general safety are both woefully disregarded.
“Our HMO licensing scheme continues to improve the standards in Camden’s private housing, empowering renters to take action and helping good landlords to run successful businesses.
“The prosecution and banning orders we have seen given in this case is a necessary last resort. Our message to landlords and letting agents is that we are here to work with you; to provide advice and assistance first of all and to ensure you can meet your obligations.”
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