Six students have been awarded a record rent repayment of £39,000 by the Residential Property Tribunal Service following a prosecution of their landlord by Camden Council.
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The award is believed to be the highest made so far by the Residential Property Tribunal Service.
The students lived in a four bedroom home in Castlehaven Rd, Kentish Town, which was an unlicensed House in multiple occupation (HMO). The landlords, Abdul Kalam and his wife Jahanara Begum were fined and ordered to pay costs by Highbury Magistrates Court on 20 June 2012 for failing to licence overcrowded student accommodation.
The property was not designed to be let in multiple occupation and the landlord had not applied for an HMO licence from the council. This meant that the property did not have adequate safety provision, such as fire precautions. As the home had only four bedrooms, the living room and a ground floor room were also let as bedrooms. The property is an ex Camden council property, which was purchased under Right to Buy Legislation in 2003 by Mr Kalam and Ms Begum.
Following the conviction for failing to apply for an HMO licence, the students were entitled to apply to the Residential Property Tribunal, for repayment of their rent. An environmental health officer from Camden Council presented the case on their behalf and the students gave evidence.
The London Rent Assessment Panel of the Residential Property Service awarded the six students £6,500 each, a total of £39,000, to cover the rent they paid whilst they lived there for the academic year 2011-12. The landlord has 28 days to pay the money.
Cllr Julian Fulbrook, cabinet councillor and member for housing, said:
“This is a clear case where the landlord had no concern for his tenants safety, and his only thought was lining his pockets with rent from the students.
“Camden Council will use all our available powers to continue to crack down on unscrupulous landlords and make accommodation in Camden safer for tenants.”
- Details about of Camden Council’s prosecution available here.
- RPT Decision available here.