The latest Successful prosecution of unscrupulous landlord and lettings agents happens to have been for tenants in a property close to Whitley ward, although they have been all over town.
As the lead councillor for Housing Richard Davies says in the council press release below this is about standing up for tenants getting a fair deal and decent home but also a level playing field for the majority of responsible landlords. I also firmly believe that decent standards are important for local neighbours too.
There is so much more to do to improve private renting and Reading Labour is both lobbying nationally and looking at all existing powers. This is a good example of one power that is only used as a last resort. But the council will continue to use it – because we as a town believe in decent homes as a bedrock for a fulfilled life – crucial if we are to narrow the gap.
From: Legge, David
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2014 02:00 PM
To: Eden, Rachel (Councillor)
Subject: Three fined a total of £5,000 with costs of £5,000 for housing offences
Three fined a total of £5,000 with costs of £5,000 for housing offences
Reading Borough Council Press Release
THE DIRECTOR of a Reading letting agency and the owners of a rented property have been fined a total of £5,000 with £5,000 costs for failing to apply for a licence for a house in multiple occupation.
Reading Borough Council successfully prosecuted Sukhjit Singh Girder, aged 59, and his wife Jaspal Kaur Girder, aged 56, of Aldbourne Avenue, in Earley, for not applying for a licence to run 92 Basingstoke Road, which at the time was a licensable house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Gurprit Singh Johal, aged 34, of Oak Tree Road, Tilehurst, who is the director of Southwood Property Services Ltd, which trades in Oxford Road under the name of Hamlet Homes, was also successfully prosecuted for the same offence.
All three defendants pleaded guilty at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Monday, June 9.
Sukhjit Singh Girder was fined £500 with costs of £500. Jaspal Kaur Girder was fined £3000 with costs of £3000. Gurprit Singh Johal was fined £1500 with costs of £1500.
The Housing Act 2004 makes it a legal requirement to obtain a HMO licence from the Council for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) that are three storeys or more and have five or more occupiers and share amenities. This is because these types of properties present higher risks to the health, safety and welfare of the tenants.
A complaint was received from one of the occupiers about overcrowding and a lack of facilities which triggered the Council’s investigation. The three defendants were aware of the licensing requirements for HMOs in Reading borough, as Mr Girder was already the licence-holder for three licensable HMOs, and Mr Johal was a licence-holder for four licensable HMOs and was successfully prosecuted in 2012 for failing to license two of them.
Cllr Richard Davies, Lead Member for Housing, said:
“This is another example of the Council standing up for residents who live in private rented accommodation. If landlords and managing agents, who hold a responsible position, are not taking their legal duties seriously, we will act to level the playing field for those many good landlords who provide a vital housing capacity in a time of high housing demand.”
Notes for Editors: