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Landlord to pay £60k fine for mistreating tenants

Words: Laura Edgar
Fined / Shutterstock_410177104

A Brent landlord has been found guilty of licensing breaches that made tenants’ lives a misery and been ordered to pay a £60,170 fine.

Brent Council said the size of the penalty reflects the “truly appalling” conditions tenants were living in.

Hugo Pulqueiro sent in people to remove the belongings of tenants and change the locks to kick a female tenant out of the flat she shared with six other tenants because she complained about the deteriorating conditions. The four-bedroom flat is in High Road, Willesden.

The victim was left homeless and her belongings were damaged and dumped outside the flat in February.

Council enforcement officers raided the property after seeing a "shocking" video filmed by the victim.

Pulqueiro, of Park Avenue, Willesden Green, had created a partition wall down the middle of two single rooms to create two illegal micro rooms that he rented out to more tenants. He did not give his tenants written agreements and sent over different strangers to collect their rent in cash at irregular times during the week.

The tenants told officers that they had never even met their landlord and that they didn't know how many people had keys to the property.

Pulqueiro neglected to protect his tenants' deposits, failed to meet fire safety regulations and ignored his responsibility to maintain the property to a liveable standard. The Fire Brigade was called to the property to put out a fire a week before the enforcement officers' raid.

Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: "This is an absolutely shocking case and it's appalling that Mr Pulqueiro believed he could get away with such gross mistreatment of his tenants. No renter in Brent should be forced to endure what these tenants went through. We will never stop fighting for decent living conditions and are using our licensing schemes to drive up standards in the private sector. We will do all we can to ensure that slum landlords like Mr Pulqueiro feel the full force of the law."

Pulqueiro was found guilty of licensing breaches at Willesden Magistrates Court on 13 June. As well as the £60,170 fine, he was ordered to pay £6,000 in court costs.

Image credit | Shutterstock (top) and Brent Council (body)