Three tenants who sub-let a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Kingsbury, north-west London, to 35 men have been fined more than 23,000.
The residents had been cramped into every room other than the bathrooms with bedding. Even the kitchen contained a sleeping area, while another mattress was found laid out under a canopy in the back garden with no protection against the night temperatures.
Gheorghe-Valentin Lingurar and Dragusin Ilie Florin were each fined £9,000 as well as £1,470 in costs and victim surcharges at Willesden Magistrates Court on Friday for failure to obtain a HMO licence and failure to respond to Brent Council's requests for information as part of their investigations.
They were two of the three tenants who were responsible for cramming the men into the semi-detached property in Winchester Avenue, NW9, in September last year.
The third defendant, Ana Maria Pricop, received a £1,000 sentence for failing to respond to officers’ requests for information regarding the property. She was also ordered to pay £1,350 in costs and victim surcharges.
Cllr Harbi Farah, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “No one should be forced to live in the overcrowded, unsafe and unhygienic conditions that the Council discovered these men living in. Poor living standards in the private rented sector are not the norm and Brent Council will track down those responsible, be they owners, agents or illegal sub-letters.
“We will not tolerate the exploitation of tenants by criminal landlords and subletters and we will continue to prosecute anyone we find breaking the law. It's time that rogue landlords get their house in order or exit the rental market so that those professional landlords who operate in Brent can continue to provide quality, much-needed accommodation.”