Landlords who failed to license their properties have been fined tens of thousands of pounds after being found guilty of Housing Act breaches.
The two prosecutions, which took place within a week of each other, came about as a result of inspection visits by Brent's licensing enforcement team.
Brent landlord, Shahid Yousaf, pleaded guilty to breaching regulations related to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) at Willesden Magistrates Court. He also pleaded guilty to failing to obtain a licence for his two storey flat in Neasden Lane, Neasden, where he was housing five to eight tenants in sub-standard conditions. The court fined Mr Yousaf £9,580.50 and his Neasden-based property company, Eurostone Limited, £7,580.
In a separate hearing at Willesden Magistrates Court, another Brent landlord, Jamshad Khan, was found guilty of licensing breaches in connection with a four-bedroom house in Cedar Road, Willesden Green. An enforcement team visited the property after tenants crammed into the four-bedroom home complained to the council, including one tenant living in the loft.
A Brent enforcement officer said: "When we first visited the property in March this year, we found 11 people living at the property in Cedar Road. Instead of taking the necessary measures to secure a licence, Mr Khan then went on to convert the lounge into two rooms, moving a tenant down from the loft into one room and a new tenant into the other."
Mr Khan was fined £13,625, including costs. Mr Khan's business associates, Michel Zanon and Samanta Tejara Andreu, were ordered to pay a total of £16,247. The court also slapped Vera Accommodation, Nathan Ltd and Galenon Ltd - the rent-to-rent agencies owned by Mr Zanon in connection with the case - with £13,625 fines each. The total fines for the Cedar Road case amount to more than £70,000.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: "Tenants living in private rented accommodation in Brent have the right to live in safe and decent conditions. Rogue landlords and illegal sublets have a negative effect, not just on the vulnerable tenants they exploit, but on the community neighbourhood as a whole."
If you are a Brent landlord who lets out shared accommodation, you can apply for a licence online at www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing
If you suspect that someone is renting out an unlicensed property in Brent, please report them anonymously at www.brent.gov.uk/reportaproperty