Tenant posing as landlord in Willesden ordered to pay £9,047.50

Missing rail in Willesden flat

Missing handrail at the top of the stairs - just one of the breaches which saw a Willesden tenant posing as a landlord ordered to pay £9,000 - Credit: Brent Council

A tenant who posed as a landlord by subletting a Willesden flat has been ordered to pay more than £9,000 for housing breaches.

Sonia Nascimento rented a converted, four-bedroom flat in St Paul's Avenue from a landlord back in 2017, and then went on to illegally sublet the property to eight other tenants for a profit.

Willesden Magistrates Court found her guilty of multiple housing breaches on March 4, ordering her to pay £9,047.50 in fines and costs and giving her a criminal record.

The court heard how a lack of smoke alarms and fire safety system put all the tenants in danger at the flat, including the life of a four-month-old baby.

One of the tenants living at the flat reported Mrs Nascimento to Brent’s private housing services in July last year, revealing eight people were sharing the property but none of them had a tenancy agreement, Brent Council said.

An inspection carried out by the council’s enforcement team in July last year discovered that the property was without a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence and Mrs Nascimento, who did not live in the flat but was 'head tenant', was in breach of housing management regulations.

The owner of the property, who paid occasional visits to the flat, was issued with a £2,500 Civil Penalty Notice (CPN) for failure to licence.

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Mrs Nascimento was issued a £5,000 community protection notice (CPN), but when she failed to pay it, the council took the matter to court.

She was found guilty of failing to take measures to protect the occupiers of the HMO from injury.

As the property was unlicensed, the tenants did not have a tenancy agreement or a government-approved deposit scheme to secure their deposit money.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, the council's lead member for housing and welfare reform, said: “Most landlords recognise the important responsibilities that come with it.

"Landlords who fail to license their properties or who are not following housing management regulations are breaking the law.

"Safety of tenants is our priority and we encourage anyone who suspects that their landlord may be acting outside the law to report their concerns to us.”