2 May 2019

The building was cold, filthy, structurally unsound and a firetrap with gaps on the stairs and no washbasin.

A Harrow landlord rented out such a disgusting home that his nine tenants were at “imminent risk of death”.

The problems at the Harrow home began with a dangerous bed bug infestation, but conditions were revealed to be so bad, that even after an £11,000 fine in the courts, Harrow Council are still looking to take further action against the landlord.

All nine people at Paul Ettienne’s were crammed into a two bed flat, including a crammed and structurally unsafe and bitterly cold loft space, evened out with blankets, loose boards and other flammable makeshift materials.

There was just one toilet in the house, but no washbasin and the kitchen drainage did not work so a bin was placed under the sink to collect the water.

The sockets were overloaded, there was no smoke detector in the whole home, and the stairs had gaps. He even held a double-glazed window in place using parcel tape.

But the unlicensed House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) was and remains unregistered with the council, which means the local authority had no idea how disgusting and dangerous the home was until bed bug exterminators were called in.

Ettienne, 46, of Headstone Drive, was immediately banned from renting out the hovel, with a prohibition order and improvement notice, but he persisted regardless, so Harrow Council took him to court.

At Willesden Magistrates Court , the judge ordered the landlord to pay £11,175 in total. That includes £2,000 for failing to licence the property and £2,000 for failing to carry out improvement works.

A further £2,000 was ordered for failing to comply with Emergency Prohibition Order to stop the use of the property immediately.

There were also £5,000 rewarded in costs and a victim surcharge of £175.

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