Fire risks in unlicenced premises brings landlord £23,000 fine

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By JulieGK | Tuesday, December 04, 2012, 20:53

A prolific landlord whose unlicensed premises posed a fire risk for tenants - including many children - has been fined £23,000 with costs of £2,890.

Mr Mehmet Parlak, owner of Watchacre Properties Limited, which lets Markfield Lodge, 12-20 Markfield Road, London N15, pleaded guilty at Highgate Magistrates Court last week to management failures and not licensing his properties.

The court heard how a Haringey Council Environmental Health Officer inspected Markfield Lodge in August and found conditions so poor they severely compromised the safety and comfort of tenants.

He identified 78 items of disrepair ranging from fire safety failures, security issues, damp and mould, filthy conditions, broken windows and lights not working.

No licence application had been received for this HMO despite many reminders. The property was also overcrowded and housed many children.

The officer also requested a licence application for 688-690 High Road, Tottenham N17 and again, after many requests, no application was received.

Cllr Nilgun Canver, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: "Haringey Council is determined to clamp down on landlords who put profit above their tenants' safety. Mr Parlak is associated with many properties which are used as house in multiple occupation (HMO) and has been involved with this business for many years. There was no excuse for not licensing or for allowing properties to degenerate into such squalid conditions.

"The regulations exist to make sure that tenants who are not in a position to pick and choose where they live are protected from rogue landlords like this. A small fire in a property managed like this could lead to the utmost tragedy. I applaud the courts for taking this matter so seriously."

Licence applications have now been received from Mr Parlak and conditions will be attached regarding occupancy numbers to deal with the overcrowding. If there is a breach of any of the conditions the authority will not hesitate to prosecute again.

The fines in this case were high due to previous convictions being taken in to consideration.

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