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An Epping Forest landlord is facing fines of more than £20,000 after he was caught illegally renting a single house out to three separate families, leading to dangerous levels of overcrowding.
Rogue landlord Veli Bunul was prosecuted at Basildon Magistrates Court after he was found to be breaching legislation designed to protect tenants at a rental property he owned in in Tillingham Court, Waltham Abbey. Officers from Epping Forest Council discovered 11 people living in the three-storey house. Conditions were extremely crowded and could have caused hazards to the health of the tenants.
In addition to the overcrowding issues, officers also found that the property had inadequate fire safety precautions. There was also no safe means of escape in the event of an emergency, further endangering the lives of the tenants.
The court was told that Bunul, of Chase Side, Canary Wharf, had ignored several warnings from the council about his responsibilities to ensure that the property was safe.
The landlord claimed he was unaware that the property was being occupied by several separate families. He argued that someone else collected rent on his behalf.
However, magistrates deemed his excuse insufficient and fined him £21,575 for failing to comply with property licensing rules. It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that tenants’ safety is guaranteed in a rental property, and Bunul had failed to do this through his negligent behavior.
Epping Forest Council housing portfolio holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou spoke out about the prosecution, saying: ‘We will not tolerate landlords who rent properties which fail to meet standards. The council has a commitment to ensure that private landlords in the Epping Forest district do not take financial advantage of vulnerable tenants and put their lives at risk. We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants.’