Two private landlords who let a damp and mouldy house in Thornton Heath have each been fined £4,000 by a judge. They also face a ban from letting properties in the borough.
Following an inspection from Croydon Council last year, a number of serious hazards were found within the property. The inspection originated from a complaint about the landlords from the tenants on September 28 2016, who were a family of four with two children under five years of age.
The landlords were then ordered by the council to repair the house, and guide inspectors around for a return visit. However, when the inspectors returned, the property had not been improved and the landlord was not in attendance.
The Thornton Heath house was found to have no no electricity, a kitchen strewn with rubble, partially-collapsed ceiling plasterwork, and significant damp and mould which would endanger the health of the tenants.
At Croydon Magistrates’ Courtm District Judge Susan Holdham found Samir Sakka and Besarta Zeneli guilty in their absence for their failure to obey an improvement notice to upgrade the property issued by Croydon Council.
Sakka, of Nelson Road in Wimbledon, and Zeneli, of Leigham Avenue in Streatham were each ordered by the judge pay a total of £4,096.20 in fines, court costs and victim surcharges within 28 working days.
Additionally, Croydon Council’s property licensing team will now begin the formal process of banning Sakka, 58, and Zeneli, 27 letting to Croydon tenants in future by revoking their property licence. The landlords will either need to sell the property or appoint a managing agent to take legal responsibility for its state.
The landlords were also billed over £22,000 after the council was forced to take out urgent repairs to the flat. In later discussions under formal caution, the pair claimed that their workmen had been denied access to the property.
Deputy leader and cabinet member for homes regeneration and planning,, Councillor Alison Butler, said: ‘No family should live in such appalling conditions, which is why we stepped in after these private landlords failed to do the responsible thing and fix the house. While most private Croydon landlords are good, this case underlines why we will continue to prosecute the minority of people who fail to protect their tenants.’