A Brighton landlord has been hit with a record fine after attempting to pack tenants into rooms he had been told were too small.
Rogue landlord Muharrem Kartal was forced to pay £45,650 by a magistrate, after it was deemed that his actions ‘put peoples lives at risk’ through overcrowding and failing to maintain kitchens and bathrooms in a safe working condition.
The fine is the largest to date for any breach of housing regulations in Brighton and Hove. It came following a council inspection of the rental property, a four-storey maisonette above a restaurant in Church Road, Hove. During the July inspection, officers found at least 12 people living in the building licensed for nine
Mr Kartal had previously pleaded guilty to three charges in December before his sentencing on April 6, These included the failure to maintain fire escapes, failing to keep them free from obstruction and the failure to keep fire equipment in good working order. Mr Kartal had previously been prosecuted for not licensing the same property as well as breaches of food hygiene legislation in a separate restaurant.
He was fined £43,680, which constitutes the minimum annual rental income Mr Kartal collected from the property, as well as a £170 victim surcharge and the council’s £1,800 legal costs.
Housing and new homes committee chairwoman, Councillor Anne Meadows, said: ‘This case highlights the importance of enforcing HMO licensing and regulations in the city. Residents in this property were not only living in over-crowded conditions without basic facilities, their lives were put in danger by an unscrupulous landlord taking their rent with little apparent concern for the safety of his tenants. That the case went to trial shows how serious theses offences were and I’d like to thank our officers for their diligent work in pressing the case and the evidence they presented in court that resulted in the convictions.’