Three brothers, whose negligent and dangerous management of rented flats above the former Thomas A Beckett pub on the Old Kent Road.
The trio were fined £37,500 and costs of £16,467.30 at the Inner London Crown Court for sentencing on 17 December for leaving it in a dangerous state for tenants, especially if there was a fire.
His Honour Judge Wood QC also granted a confiscation order of £55,372.96, linked to the proceeds of their crime.
The pub is where former European heavyweight boxing champion Henry Cooper trained for years – in a gym over the bar. The building has also been at the centre of controversy for years as it was available for a knock-down price three years ago and was also the subject of a restaurant applicatiion with a late-night licence.
There is a long history of Southwark council intervention at the property and two previous convictions* linked to breaches of housing laws that are designed to protect tenants. Southwark enforcement officers visited the property on 31 August 2016 because of concern for the tenants. It was a large high risk House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) with three floors of accommodation above a pub/club. The fire protection in the accommodation was found to be poorly maintained: the fire alarm system didn’t work, the fire doors were not up to standard and the fire extinguishers had not been tested or maintained.
Flats inside were found to be unlicensed and illegally over occupied. A studio flat previously labelled as being unsafe to live in, was found to be occupied by a couple who were paying £730 a month for rooms that were all too small to meet the council’s minimum size rules and contained a bedroom with no window, natural light or ventilation.
Baian Abdul (37), Kazi Abdul (43) and Kashim Abdul (45) of Darville Road, Stoke Newington, all pleaded guilty at hearings in 2017. Kazi Abdul is also a director of a fourth defendant company in the case: KKB Financial Services Ltd, 86 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX. Sentencing was postponed while Southwark Council investigated their proceeds of crime.
The brothers jointly owned 320-322 Old Kent Road, SE1 5EU, and the company was connected with letting flats and rooms above the Thomas a Beckett pub, until it was sold in August 2017. Southwark Trading Standards also found that the company was falsely claiming to be a member of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) and also using a SAFEAGENT scheme logo, when it was neither members, nor authorised to use the logos**.
Councillor Victoria Mills, Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Brexit, said: “Southwark Council will not tolerate rogue landlords who put personal profit before the safety of their tenants. This case shows that we will use all tools available to maintain living standards for private renters. Families and individuals should never live in unsafe, sub-standard and poorly managed flats and crime should never pay.”
The brothers had two previous convictions.
In October 2013 the defendants pleaded guilty to offences under the Housing Act 2004: failure to comply with 3 prohibition orders; failure to provide information; contravention of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006.
In September 2015 the three brothers were convicted of further offences relating to contravention of the prohibition orders and failing to properly manage the property. The offences included a failure to ensure that the property had adequate and working fire protection.