Slum landlord back in court for more HMO offences

Slum landlord Mehmet Parlak has faced magistrates for the second time in two months for housing families in dangerous and squalid shared bedsit homes.

Parlak, director of Watchstar Ltd and Watchacre Properties Ltd, both based in North London, was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £4,462 costs at Tottenham Magistrates Court.

He pleaded guilty to a catalogue of housing offences relating to four houses in multiple occupation (HMO) in Tottenham.

Parlak flouted fire safety laws and failed to licence the properties, the court was told.

Councillor Nilgun Canver, Haringey Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “It is not right that people should be paying rent to live in sometimes unsafe and unhygienic properties.

“The law stipulates that certain HMOs must be licensed, this protects tenants by making sure the property meets certain standards of space and safety. We also expect any let properties to meet certain standards and I hope these fines remind all landlords that we will take action where we find they do not.”

At the previous hearing in December, Parlak was fined £23,000 with costs of £2,890 by Highbury Corner Magistrates, after admitting 78 housing offences relating to another HMO he rented out.

Parlak now faces financial difficulties and may have to sell one or more properties to pay fines and compensation.

Haringey Council is adding to his woes by aiding his tenants to reclaim their last 12 months of rent payments from a residential property tribunal.

Further action is also under consideration to strip him of his HMO licences as his convictions mean he is not judged as a ‘fit and proper’ person to manage shared homes.

Meanwhile, Haringey Council is taking action to restrict the number of HMOs in their area by taking on article 4 planning powers from November 2013.

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