Redbridge landlord handed £25,000 court bill after council caught him renting out five death trap properties

Barkingside Magistrate's Court. Picture: Ken Mears

Barkingside Magistrate's Court. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A rogue landlord from Grays who rented out unsafe, unlicensed properties in Redbridge that endangered the lives of 56 of his tenants has been ordered to pay £25,165.

Council enforcement officers discovered Mindaugas Cikanavicius, from Palmerston Road, Grays, was operating five properties in Redbridge as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) without a licence.

The properties were also found to be potential death traps after having virtually no fire safety measures in place to protect tenants, including smoke alarms and fire blankets in the kitchen.

During his appearance at Barkingside Magistrates' Court on Friday October 11, Cikanavicius, 37, pleaded guilty to operating unlicensed, overcrowded and unsafe HMOs.

He was hit with fines of £14,800 and ordered to pay costs of £10,105. A victim surcharge of £260 was also imposed.

During sentencing the judge stated Cikanavicius had "56 vulnerable people in his properties and if there had been a fire there would have been some deaths on his hands".

The borough's cabinet member for housing and homelessness, Cllr Farah Hussain, said: "It is completely unacceptable that people should be living in conditions that put their lives at risk.

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"This landlord showed a complete disregard for the safety of his tenants and it's only right that he now faces the full weight of the law.

"We take a zero-tolerance approach to landlords of this type and will continue to crack down on all suspected HMOs and unlicensed properties to root out rogue operators in the borough."

Licensing is mandatory for all HMOs, as well as the 79 per cent of the private rental sector in Redbridge covered by the council's selective licensing scheme.

Those who do not comply face being prosecuted or fined.

Property owners or agents can apply for a licence on our website.

The council has signed up to the Mayor of London's Rogue Landlords and Letting Agents Checker, a free online tool which allows Londoners to check if a landlord or letting agent has been convicted of any housing offences.