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Landlord’s huge fine follows 33 HMO offences

A landlord who committed 33 offences at a property he owns has been issued with civil penalties totalling £50,500.

Zaheer Uddin Babar, who owns the property in Northampton, was first contacted by the local council in March 2015 requesting that he license it as a House in Multiple Occupation.

Following five further unactioned requests to apply for the licence, council officials inspected the property under warrant in June 2019 and found several breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, and then issued two Improvement Notices as a result.

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Among the most serious hazards found at the property were missing handrails and banisters on staircases, a partially collapsed and waterlogged ceiling, a faulty fire alarm and fire door and exposed electrical wires.

A range of other problems were also discovered, including broken external door locks, faulty windows, along with damp and mould, while the kitchen and bathroom were filthy and in a poor state of repair.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing at Northampton councils, says: “The conditions in this property were squalid and hazardous, and posed a real danger to the tenants living there.

“Landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure that properties are clean, safe and in working order for their tenants, and our Housing Enforcement Team will continue to take action against such failings, through their extensive surveillance work and information received from local residents.”

Babar appealed to the First Tier Tribunal which upheld civil penalties totalling £50,500. He has paid £500 against one of the civil penalties and now has 28 days to pay the remaining amount.

Failure to pay will result in the council taking action to recoup the debt, which may include enforced sale of his property.

The council is working with the eight tenants to help them claim back up to 12 months rent from Babar.

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    Will he pay the fine, or return the rent ? of course he will not, good luck trying to make him do so, he'll claim mental health issues and get his extended '' breathing space ''

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    Disgusting yet not surprising, as clearly the level of punishment / penalty is grossly inadequate.
    Clearly confiscation and sale of property, and 50% sale price as fine and LL told he cannot be a ll anymore. Also if there is a mortgage lender should foreclose on the mortagge

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    Not exactly sure what the reporting of one very serious case prove. More revealing might be the number of such convictions in say a year, and draw conclusions from that. (And unless Andrew has evidence for his statement on this particular landlord, maybe he should hold back, see what happens, and then make his statement. Not everyone is the same. Unless he knows more about the history of this particular landlord than the article states. )

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    I agree with Andrew.

    Rogue landlords like that are the reason decent landlords are vilified and saddled with draconian regulations which are paid for by decent tenants.

     
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    I've got to say you are consistent with your posts. You just don't get it.

    True Robert this case was so easy to avoid but the LL in this case just couldnt bring himself to apply for the d*mn licence

     
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    Staggering that it took from March 2015 to early 2020 to get sorted out by the powers that be.

    Now THAT is incompetence.

  • Fi OLoug

    Completely agree that it should never have taken 4 years for this to be investigated - landlords who follow the rules end up spending loads whilst such horrid landlords get away with disgusting squalid conditions for so long and have the audacity to appeal the fine- if he doesn't pay he should have to sell the house

  • Fi OLoug

    Completely agree that it should never have taken 4 years for this to be investigated - landlords who follow the rules end up spending loads whilst such horrid landlords get away with disgusting squalid conditions for so long and have the audacity to appeal the fine- if he doesn't pay he should have to sell the house

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    I can't see how Council can fine a LL for the Mismanagement of a HM0 when they have removed his ability to do so. I don't know about this particular case but know very well about waterlogged ceilings that's likely to be the Tenants miss-use flooding the bathroom above for sure, faulty fire alarms why did the Tenant pull them out of the ceiling, can't see the LL doing this. He should have Licensed it when requested, its not clear if he carried out the improvement notice work or tried or the time scale set for this. The Tenant must have broken the hand rails surely, hard to see why the Council encourage this behavior and not fine the Tenants as well. Excuse me please can you tell me what's the difference between a Handrail & a Bannister you said they damaged both ?.

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    Robert / Andrew you must know if the Council can't get £50k off a dodgy LL, they will take it from us, that's the name of the game. Its been widely reported in the past the split the spoils between them, it can't be just when they have a vested interest. I seen fines split 50% goes to Gov' 37.5% to Council and Courts 12.5%.

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    The reason for this problem is the council themselves. If the councils do their job from day 1, no such houses can exist. If this so called LL is smart, he could have fixed the place for next to nothing and there would be no news. He expected the council to sleep as they have done probably for many years prior to this and got done for it. He may also have ways to avoid paying this fine.
    I think the system is failing the law abiding in this country and are being used as a cash cow where ever possible.

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    Pat, I agree its been used as a cash cow that's definite other than that I disagree. The Local Authorities could have required the LL's to meet those requirements without licensing schemes, they had all the powers they ever needed to this as far back as 1992. The idea that he could have done this for next to nothing is a non-starter, it takes several thousands of pounds to meet the requirements if its a traditional property. have you seen how much trades men costs those days £150 /£200 per day if they will come to you at all, so how much does Spindles & hand rails cost + carpenter, I hope its a straight flight and front door complete with door furniture, new ceiling, upgrade electrics and I am not privy to the long list the Council will require and it will be plenty, like bringing your old car for MOT you might think it fine until they start going through everything. There's a big problem trying to carry out this work when Tenants are living there, when the whole place is chockablock with their belongings, not room to move not alone work and they don't want you touching their stuff, people who never done it don't understand they been to Uni' instead. I understand right well having been through it so many times, did I read there was mold and the place was filthy dirty, pity the Council didn't have free Courses to teach them how to live in a property, (I say free everything has to be free for them).

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    Having gone through converting properties to meet HMO standards and licensing I know the costs involved. In my case one council provided the license without bothering to inspect that property and another did everything possible to avoid dealing with me. I had to become a nuisance caller to force the council to provide an inspection date. My point is simple, there are laws and standards but the councils are unwilling to enforce them or have a simple process that people can follow. Under these circumstances many wouldn't bother. The works I have done are over and above council requirements. I set my standards and attract the right tenants.
    It certainly won't cost this guy 50k to fix the issues. People who live in such places do so as it may be cheaper or they don't have the income levels etc to get a better place. Little bit of money goes a long way with such people and there are other legitimate ways of getting around any tenant resistance.
    As for mould issues, my tenants are provided with washing machine and dryer and an external area where they can dry the cloths if they don't wish to use the dryer. Where I have found small mould build up during inspections usually in shower enclousres, I would treat them and show the tenants how to ensure it doesn't happen again. If I see mould after second inspection, I don't renew their contract. All new tenants only get a 6 month contract anyway.
    Another example of the council non-action is when I informed one council of a dangerous flat where the first floor external door Leeds to dilapidated stair at the back of the property. After several complaints the council put a dangerous building notice, the landlord removed the staircase. so now the tenants will fall from first floor to the ground floor. The council has taken no further action.

     
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    Hi Pat , fair play to you for your hard work, just in case of any misunderstanding I never suggested it would cost £50k, that was never a cost its money from Heaven for the Council they just collect. I have been through several properties and done the necessary and know the cost too well including £1300 application fee the tip of the ice berg, but not just once on same property 2006, 2011, 2016 & now due again and that's just one, that goes for every property then there the extra kitchen sink in the same kitchen, the double Range cooker they required me to put in & replaced 3 times £1k a throw, the extractor hood alone for this is £400. the hard wired fire alarms in every room not just Halls & landings, the Emergency lighting in Halls And Landings, the electric up dating comply with EICR, Certificates for all those things again & again, remove the 90 beautiful hardwood mahogany doors I had and throw away that I had to replace and replace personally with compliant Rubbish Fire Doors and carry most up stairs, When you have swung 90 fire doors let me know how you feel and the cost, they hardly fit to hold the screws, alter the frames complete with stops, seals, door closer's, special locks with thumb screw operation from inside so no one gets locked inside, door furniture. yes they were inspected and I did the Work, paid for the work and paid the Council for the work that I did, the Council din't have anything to do. I am so sorry for ever being a LL , what for to finance the roof over other peoples heads, to subsidize their Rents by Statute , to pay tens of thousands income tax each year, to be treated as a second class citizen and my profession Criminalized.

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