Court fines pair for running squalid HMO
Camden Council has successfully prosecuted two people for letting a house in which 12 people lived in squalor.
Aminat Adedoyin Afolabi and Raphael Fagbolagun were found guilty of failing to obtain a licence for a house in multiple occupation, management offences and a failure to supply documents requested by a notice at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court earlier this month.
They managed a property in St Augustine’s Road in Camden for a Mr Alade, who lived in Nigeria. They claimed the property was empty but when environmental health officers visited on various days in March 2011 they found a basement flat let to three tenants, and three upper floors converted into eight bedsits let to nine tenants.
The officers found:
- a pool of sewage had collected due to a blocked gully and was soaking the brickwork to the basement bedroom
- two large divan beds and a fridge- freezer obstructed the fire escape route
- the fire alarm had been silenced so that it was not effective
- the steps leading down to the rear garden were in a dangerous condition resulting in a tenant’s mother requiring crutches after falling down the broken staircase
- fire doors were either missing or ineffective
- there were many missing banisters to the internal staircase and serious electrical faults.
The council found that both defendants, who pleaded not guilty, had received rents from tenants in the house.
After a two-day trial, Mrs Afolabi, a struck-off solicitor who had previously been convicted of fraud, was found guilty of 12 offences and Mr Fagbolagun 11 offences.
The judge listened to the pleas from the defence that both defendants were on low incomes and reduced the fines and costs to £1,415 for Mr Fagbolagun and £765 for Mrs Afolabi.
Abdul Hai, Camden Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: ‘Slum landlords will not be tolerated in Camden. We will continue to use every power to ensure people don’t fall prey to landlords who have no consideration for people’s safety and are instead more concerned with lining their own pockets.’