22 Jul 2020

A pregnant woman was among nine people put “at risk” by their landlords, who allowed their tenants’ home to become infested with rats and cockroaches.

Barnet Council says its enforcement officers found a “severe cockroach infestation” at 80 Highfield Avenue in Golders Green, Barnet, while the stairs and flooring had been “partially eaten by rats”.

Officers also discovered a faulty fire alarm system at the address, which had not been registered as a House of Multiple Occupancy despite being home to nine people.

This included a pregnant woman who was sharing one small room with her husband and young child. Another run-down room was home to a man who often shared it with his two children.

Two landlords and their lettings agents will now have to pay tens of thousands of pounds following proceedings at Willesden Magistrates Court on Tuesday, July 7.

Owner of the property Asher Abraham was fined £20,000, with £6,113.96 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge. Co-owner Hannah Abraham was fined £1,500 with a victim surcharge of £170.

Three of the rooms were let by Easy Lettings, while the other two were let by UKPA Property Consultants, the trading name for R. B Jethwa Ltd.

Easy Lettings and R. B Jethwa were each fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £764.25 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Cllr Richard Cornelius, Chair of the Housing and Growth Committee, said: “We will not tolerate dodgy landlords in Barnet. These people have purposefully breached the law and put their tenants at risk.

“The COVID-19 lockdown cannot be used as an excuse not to licence HMOs and ensure that properties are safe. I am delighted to see the courts supporting the council in sending out a strong message that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.”

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