£162k fine for conditions in ‘unsafe’ Hyde Park flat

18 tenants were living in the 14-room apartment on Hyde Park Gate, paying an average of £800 a month

The landlord of a property on swanky Hyde Park Gate has been clobbered with a whopping fine after running it as an unlicensed HMO.

Hammersmith Magistrates Court found the owner – and two companies he was a director of – guilty of failing to license a House in Multiple Occupation and 22 other charges under HMO Management Regulations.

A statement from RBKC described the apartment, one of three in the Grade II listed building, as “poorly converted” and subdivided into 14 rooms using “flimsy plasterboard partitions”. Shockingly, 18 people were said to be living there, sharing one kitchen and paying an average rent of £800 per month.

Environmental Health Officers paid the address a visit in November after a tenant complained, and found zero fire doors, smoke detectors or alarms. According to the report, the unserviced gas boiler had a “dangerous” cracked flue, while extension leads and wires trailed throughout the property.

RBKC said the conditions posed “such a risk to safety” that Environmental Health Officers issued a Prohibition Order to prevent further use of the flat.

The court handed down a fine of £162,000 and ordered the payment of a further £3,498 in costs. The defendants didn’t appear in court.

On sentencing, the magistrates said: “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.”