Licensing and deposit problems see Nottingham landlord fined £1,750

HMO Housing

A Sneinton landlord has been fined £1,750 after a number of issues were raised by his tenant.

Shafaqat Ali Sadiq, aged 41, of Vicarage Avenue, Derby, was found guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Friday 27 July of aggressive practices, failing to protect a tenancy deposit and operating a House of Multiple Occupation without a licence.

The three separate offences fall under the Housing Act 2004 and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

Nottingham City Council’s Trading Standards and Safer Housing teams carried out an investigation after receiving a complaint from a tenant who claimed he had been forcibly removed from his home, despite paying rent and not causing problems or damage at the house.

Having paid a deposit and rent in cash, the tenant did not receive any paperwork and Mr Sadiq is reported to have let himself into the house without notice on a number of occasions demanding money which wasn’t due to him.

The tenant claimed Mr Sadiq behaved aggressively towards him, shouting and threatening to throw his belongings in the street and then proceeded to gather up kitchen items and throw them into bin bags on the floor.

It was also reported that Mr Sadiq failed to protect the tenant’s deposit, contrary to legal requirements. Landlords must put deposits received under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement into a government-backed scheme to ensure that at the end of the tenancy, deposits are protected in the event of a dispute and cannot be withheld unfairly.

If a tenant has paid their rent and bills, hasn’t caused damage and has met the terms of their tenancy, they are entitled to a refund of their tenancy deposit from the landlord.

After visiting the property in Lees Hill Street, Sneinton, belonging to Mr Sadiq, officers found that it was not licensed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

During the trial, Mr Sadiq denied assaulting one of his tenants and believed that protecting his deposit was a matter of choice.

He argued that he had submitted an application for a licence but because he was still waiting to hear from the Council, he assumed that the licence was being processed.

Despite representation made on behalf of Mr Sadiq by Defence Counsel, he was found guilty and fined £1,750.

Councillor Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is a great result for the Council, showing the importance of different teams working together and using consumer protection legislation to protect vunerable tenants.”

Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Planning, added: “Landlords are required to manage their property in accordance with the law. Failing to secure tenants’ deposits and acting aggressively towards them is not acceptable. This case shows that Nottingham City Council will take robust action through the courts to prosecute rogue landlords.”

From April 6, 2018, anyone committing a defined housing-related offence can receive a banning order preventing them from owning or operating rented housing.

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