Rogue landlord and agent fined for running dangerous and overcrowded unlicensed home

Mick Ferris
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A Southend landlord has pleaded guilty to offences under the Housing Act after having 16 adults and five children living in a dangerous, unsafe and unlicensed house.

Ruhul Mohammed Shamsuddin as manager and landlord of the unlicensed house of multiple occupancy (HMO) at 90-90a West Road in Westcliff-on-Sea, changed his plea to guilty and was fined £16,864 at Basildon Magistrates Court on Friday July 7, 2023.

Valentine Lodge Ltd, the freehold owner of the property was fined £6,020.

The court heard how officers from the council’s regulatory services team acted on information given to them in April 2022 about the property being run as an unlicensed HMO.

As well as overcrowding in the 11 letting room property with some families living in one room, officers found a number of fire safety breaches, including some rooms having no access to a fire escape, extensive disrepair to communal areas, damp and mould, no heating and unsafely located cooking appliances.

The council helped the families who were living there to find alternative accommodation in the private rented sector.

The council’s investigation uncovered that Mr Shamsuddin is the company director of Lordsons Limited and Conker Property Management Limited. He used Conker Property Management to form a tenancy agreement with the freeholder owners Valentine Lodge Ltd. His company Lordsons Limited then became landlords by issuing tenancy agreements to the occupiers and charging a substantial monthly rental income of £5,480. All companies involved were part of the prosecution.

Mr Shamsuddin pleaded guilty as limited company and company director to a total of 17 offences including failure to licence a HMO, management regulation contraventions and failure to comply with the requirements of a Housing Act Notice.

Cllr David Garston, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “It is not OK that some of our residents are having to put up with substandard, dangerous and unlicensed accommodation, whilst paying top dollar for it.

“I am glad we were able to investigate and find evidence to support the allegations and that the court saw fit to make an example of this rogue landlord and fine a substantial amount of money. I am also glad that we were able to help the residents living in that home, find alternative private rented accommodation.

“This is a message to all landlords who think they can swerve the system, we will find out, we will investigate, and we will take action. We will do this for the safety and health and wellbeing of our residents. Everyone living in Southend-on-Sea deserves a safe and comfortable home that is suitable for their needs.”

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk