Fine for Rugby landlords who 'risked tenants' lives' - The Rugby Observer
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14th Aug, 2022

Fine for Rugby landlords who 'risked tenants' lives'

Rugby Editorial 29th Jun, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

A FATHER and son who ‘put the lives of their tenants at risk’ by breaking fire safety regulations at a house they rented out have been fined a total of £16,200.

Wali and Abbas Mohammed, both of Crowsfurlong, Rugby, were prosecuted after Rugby Borough Council discovered a catalogue of breaches at the house in Murray Road.

During an inspection of the ‘house in multiple occupation’ (HMO) in October, officers highlighted a number of safety issues to Abbas – including breaches of fire safety regulations and exposed electrical wiring.

Abbas was told he was putting the lives of his tenants at risk and was presented with a list of improvements which needed to be made to the property in order for it to meet minimum HMO licence conditions.

The house – licensed for eight tenants – also had inadequate bathroom and toilet facilities.

But despite the warning – which was restated during a further inspection in November – Abbas failed to make the improvements and carry out all repairs.

And when officers returned to the house in January and found issues remained unresolved, the council took the decision to prosecute.

The father and son’s case was heard at Warwickshire Justice Centre in Nuneaton on Monday June 22.

Wali Mohammed, the licence holder, was charged with 13 counts of breaching the conditions of his HMO licence.

The 51-year-old, who failed to attend court, was found guilty in his absence by magistrates, who fined him a total of £10,700. He was also ordered to pay £400 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

Abbas Mohammed, the HMO’s manager, pleaded guilty to six counts of failing to comply with HMO management regulations and one count of breaching HMO licence conditions.

In mitigation, Abbas said he had ‘overlooked’ addressing the problems at the property due to being a full-time father and a carer for his 90-year-old grandmother.

He told magistrates work had been carried out at the house since the inspection in January, so sentencing was briefly adjourned to give him the opportunity to have photographs of the improvements emailed to him.

But when magistrates returned to court, Abbas could not be found.

He was fined a total of £5,500 and was ordered to pay £400 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, Rugby Borough Council communities spokeswoman Coun Leigh Hunt said: “HMO regulations protect the health and safety of tenants, and unscrupulous landlords who flout the law tarnish the reputation of the many responsible private landlords in Rugby.

“While we’re keen to work with landlords to make sure properties meet the required standards, landlords also need to know we’ll pursue reports of substandard accommodation and prosecute when necessary.”

Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/housingenforcement to anonymously report concerns over conditions at a rented property.

Email the council’s housing enforcement team at hen@rugby.gov.uk or call (01788) 533882 for advice on HMO regulations.

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