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£6,000 bill for Reading landlords

Two Reading landlords face a total bill of £6,000 after admitting a string of offences which resulted in tenants living in dangerous conditions.

Farooq Ahmed, 62, and Naseem Akhtar, 59, both of Kensington Road, were sentenced at Reading Magistrates Court for breaches under the Housing Act 2004 and the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Regulations.

Members of Reading Borough Council's private sector housing team visited the property in Beresford Road, west Reading, in June 2015 following complaints from tenants about poor conditions.

Officers found disrepair, which included faulty smoke detection and fire door and no gas or electrical safety certificates, as well as no HMO licence.

The council gave the landlords time to carry out remedial work and provide the required documentation but they failed to do so, which resulted in prosecution action.

Ahmed and Akhtar admitted all offences, which took place between 7 July 2015 and 13 August 2015.

The list of issues found by inspectors also included: defective cooker hood and plug sockets, insecure electric socket outlet, skirting board not attached to wall, kitchen cupboard and drawer handles missing, bathroom window hinges broken so the window did not close and extractor not working.

The magistrates considered the failure to licence as an HMO to be the most serious offence and said the tenants were housed in dangerous conditions.

The fines totalled £1,900 each and each defendant was also ordered to individually pay £100 victim surcharge and £1,000 legal costs. Therefore, the total each defendant is required to pay is £3,000.

Alison Bell, Reading's director of environment and neighbourhood services, said: "The private rented sector is an increasingly important source of housing for many of our residents in Reading and the council values the contribution made by well-managed and licensed houses in multiple occupation.

"Unfortunately, there are some landlords who fail to provide the quality of accommodation their tenants have a right to expect.

"This case demonstrates that the council is willing to act and get results when tenants come to us with concerns about the standard and safety of their private rented accommodation."

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