1. ITV Report

Rogue landlord fined more than £150,000 after cramming 18 tenants into a flat

A rogue landlord has been fined more than £150,000 after cramming 18 tenants into a flat.

Abbas Rasul, 64, was raking in almost £15,000 per month by letting out the apartment in a Grade II listed building in Kensington.

Despite being on the prestigious street of Hyde Park Gate, which has been home to embassies and members of high society for decades, the apartment was an overcrowded mess.

It was divided using flimsy pieces of plasterboard as makeshift partitions to create 14 rooms which were lived in by 18 people.

There were no fire doors, smoke detectors or alarms in the flat which had one kitchen shared by all the tenants.

The gas boiler had not been serviced and had a cracked flue which was dangerous.

Due to the way the flat had been subdivided, some rooms had no electric light fittings in the ceiling - leading to extension leads and trailing wires running through the property.

The conditions were deemed so dangerous environmental health officers from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea issued a Prohibition Order to prevent further use of the flat.

Tenants were paying a staggering £800 per month on average, despite the dangerous conditions of Flat 3 at 36 Hyde Park Gate flat.

Mr Rasul, along Grosvenor Property Investments Ltd and London Victoria Estates Ltd which he is the sole shareholder and director of, were found guilty at Hammersmith Magistrates' Court of failing to license a House in Multiple Occupation along with 22 further charges under HMO Management Regulations.

The defendants, who did not attend court, were fined a combined £162,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,498.

We have paid particular attention in our sentencing to the matters we deemed with overriding concern of potential immediate dangers, those being the fire safety hazards.

In coming to our decision we took into consideration there had been a lack of compliance over considerable amount of time and an attempt to obstruct officers in their investigations.

There is evidence of substantial disregard of their obligation to protect the tenants whilst they are living at the property.

– Hammersmith Magistrates

This type of landlord has no place anywhere and in Kensington and Chelsea we will do our utmost to crack down on them.

Tenants were living in crowded conditions created by illegal and unsafe alterations.

I am very pleased that following a thorough investigation by our officers the court has handed down this sentence.

– Cllr Rock Feilding-Mellen, Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea