Wed, 27 Aug 14
A landlord has been ordered to pay a total of £3,040 by the courts for renting out a loft room which tenants had to go on all fours up a staircase to access.
Barnet’s environmental health team found that the low ceiling above the staircase and small entrance hatch made it impossible for tenants to reach the room while standing upright, raising concerns it could impede their escape in the event of a fire.
Head height along the course of the staircase was found to only be between 0.7 and 1.2m, and the door to the room was also reduced in size.
On 5 August at Willesden Magistrates’ Court, landlord Yaakov Marom, of Sunningfields Road, Hendon, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an order served by the council prohibiting occupation of the loft room.
He was ordered to pay a £1,500 fine, £1,420 in costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
The council first issued a Prohibition Order to Marom in February 2012 which prohibited use of the second floor room of the house that he managed in Sunningfields Road, Hendon, for accommodation.
The court hearing comes after council officers visited the house with police officers in September last year and found that the room was still in use and being rented by a couple for £420 a month.
Barnet Council says it investigated over 970 reports of poor conditions in the borough last year.
Councillor Tom Davey, chairman of the housing committee, said: “At the very least tenants have the right to expect that the accommodation they are renting is safe.
“Barnet Council is keen to work with landlords and help them to provide safe accommodation.
“However, those who exploit tenants for financial gain will not be tolerated and the appropriate action will be taken.”
See also: Letting Guide for Landlords
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