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Question: How many people can you get into a three-bedroom house? The answer: 35

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But this isn’t such a joking matter when, unfortunately, it is true. The LandlordToday website reports that three tenants in Kingsbury, north-west London, sub-let a three-bedroom semi-detached house to 35 men in September last year.

The residents had been cramped into every room with bedding – apart from the bathrooms. Even the kitchen contained a sleeping area, and a mattress was found laid out under a canopy in the back garden with no protection against the night temperatures.

Willesden Magistrates Court fined Dragusin Ilie Florin and Gheorghe-Valentin Lingurar £9,000 each. They were also fined £1,470 in costs and victim surcharges for failure to obtain an HMO licence and, failure to respond to Brent Council's requests for information as part of their investigations.

The third defendant, Ana Maria Pricop, received a £1,000 sentence and £1,350 in costs and victim surcharges.

Cllr Harbi Farah, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “No one should be forced to live in the overcrowded, unsafe and unhygienic conditions that the Council discovered these men living in. Poor living standards in the private rented sector are not the norm and Brent Council will track down those responsible, be they owners, agents or illegal sub-letters.

“We will not tolerate the exploitation of tenants by criminal landlords and subletters and we will continue to prosecute anyone we find breaking the law. It's time that rogue landlords get their house in order or exit the rental market so that those professional landlords who operate in Brent can continue to provide quality, much-needed accommodation.”