In Reading as I’ve blogged many times before we are committed to doing all we can to improve the private rented sector including ensuring a level playing field for good landlords.
Extract from council press release below:
Tenants had to live in overcrowded conditions with blocked toilets, exposed electrical wires and no working fire alarms.
Jarvis Properties, of Oxford Road, West Reading, received the fine for a three-storey property in Prospect Street which it managed on behalf of landlord Abdul Sheikh.
The HMO was limited to seven occupants but 11 people were found to be living in the property when Reading Borough Council carried out an investigation in May 2011.
Housing and environmental health officers visited the house following a complaint from one of the tenants about poor living conditions.
They found a shower and toilet in the top floor was blocked due to a broken macerator unit, resulting in foul water filling up both the toilet and shower tray.
The water was then leaking through to the ceiling below and dripping on to the bannister of the communal stairway.
Another internal shower room had a faulty extractor fan and exposed electrical wires.
Inspectors also found the fire alarm system was not working and fire doors and emergency lights were not being maintained. Fire safety notices were positioned incorrectly and failed to direct tenants to the exit via a safe route.
District Judge Lynne Matthews said she considered the offences to be serious and the letting agent had failed to take action to address the failings for a considerable time.
She added the tenants were paying rent and deserved to have better living accommodation and were entitled to working sanitary facilities.
Judge Matthews, who heard the case at Reading Magistrates Court on Monday, July 9, fined Jarvis Properties £20,000 for failing to properly manage the HMO, comply with health and safety conditions on their HMO licence and failing to provide information relating to the property requested by the council.
Landlord Sheikh, of Myrtle Grove, Newcastle, was fined £500 and ordered to pay legal costs of £200 and a victim surcharge fee of £15 after admitting to failing to provide requested information.
Councillor Richard Davies, Reading’s assistant lead member for neighbourhood and housing, said: “Raising the standard of housing across all tenures is a top priority for the council, including rental properties in the private sector, and this case should act as a deterrent to a minority of irresponsible landlords, as well as letting agents.”