Two rogue landlords who put profit before safety have been fined a total of £16,400 for safety breaches which put their student tenants at risk.
Landlords Mr Irfan Tariq and Mrs Sajadah Tariq of Elm Bank, Mapperley, were taken to court by Nottingham City Council’s Safer Housing Team for failing to licence student flats in Corporation Oaks, St Ann’s and for fire safety failings.
The couple, who claimed the property was mostly unoccupied despite housing a dozen students, failed to appear at Nottingham Magistrates Court on Wednesday June 3rd and the case was heard in their absence.
They were found guilty of failing to licence a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) under Section 55 of the Housing Act 2004, as well as contravening the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, in particular around fire safety.
They were each fined £5,000 for failure to licence the property, £2,500 each for breaches of the management regulations and full costs of £1,403.30 were awarded to the Council and a victim surcharge of £120 each – a total fine of £16,403.30.
The Safer Housing Team was made aware of poor conditions at the property last November by the Student Advice Centre and the Fire Authority who believed the property was occupied by students and that they were at risk from fire hazards. The property was not a licenced HMO.
Magistrates heard how officers visited the property the same day and found the landlord in attendance, and although there were personal belongings within the property, such as laptops and mobile phones, the landlord denied that many of the rooms were occupied.
A warrant was applied for and granted and executed on the morning of November 12th 2014, supported by Community Protection’s Neighbourhood Policing Team. At the time officers entered the property, 12 students were found to be living at the address, seven of whom were from overseas. Hazards found at the property posed a serious risk to the health, safety and well-being of these citizens, including:
• Fire doors having been removed from door frames and left leaning against walls
• Service pipes going through walls and ceilings/floors, compromising fire safety
• A rear exit door which was a designated fire escape having been screwed shut
• A fire alarm not being maintained and on two separate visits not operating at all.
Portfolio Holder for Community Services, Councillor Nicola Heaton, said: “We are pleased with the outcome of this prosecution and hope it will serve as a reminder to landlords that we take such matters very seriously and will take action, including prosecution, whenever we find unacceptable living standards for tenants in Nottingham.
“In this case, students were paying the landlords on average £300 rent per calendar month, an example of rogue landlords collecting a sizeable rentable income but putting profit before safety.”
Mr Tariq is also awaiting trial next week in the Magistrate’s Court for similar offences in relation to another HMO.
The case comes as the City Council’s The Rogue Landlord campaign continues to raise awareness that everyone has the right to a safe and healthy home. As well as telling citizens how to report a rogue landlord, it raises awareness of the Nottingham Standard, which supports good landlords and gives confidence to tenants. The Nottingham Standard embraces landlords accredited by Unipol and by Decent and Safe Homes (DASH), and is the mark of a safe, decent quality home in the city.
Anyone who wants to report a rogue landlord can do so by calling 0115 915 2020 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org