A landlord has been found guilty and fined for fire safety failings and denying that his property was being used as a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Zakaria Rmiki, landlord of a property in Watford, was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £5,250 towards costs after appearing at Stevenage Magistrate Court.
Despite pleading not guilty, Rmiki was found guilty of failing to make the property safe for his tenants.
Council officers who visited the property found it had no fire safety measures in place.
The landlord also denied to the authorities that it was being used as an HMO.
Watford Borough Council officers subsequently found eight pieces of post addressed to various people hidden in the chimney flute, despite Rmiki claiming that just three brothers resided in the property.
Further to this, the officers found multiple mattresses in one bedroom as well as significant numbers of female belongings throughout the property.
Rmiki had previously been issued with an Improvement Notice by the council and failed to carry out the changes in the specified timescales.
Despite the property only being let to one person at the time of re-inspection, the council chose to prosecute as it had no confidence that the property would not go straight back into HMO use.
“This landlord was clearly out to deceive the council and make money at vulnerable people’s expense, we will not tolerate this,” said Mayor of Watford Borough Council, Dorothy Thornhill.
“We tried to work with Zakaria Rmiki in order to help him make the improvements needed and avoid bringing this to court. Unfortunately his continued avoidance of the council and failure to do the works left us with no option but to prosecute.”
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