A landlord has been hit with what a local authority calls a record £66,000 fine after being found guilty of letting an HMO that was dangerous to tenants.
Reading council prosecuted Mohammed Naseer Zamir, following its housing team’s findings at the property in the town between October 2019 and February 2020.
Zamir claimed the property consisted of two self-contained flats, each of which was occupied by a single household; but the council discovered that each flat was in multiple occupation.
Safety shortcomings included the main external entrance door to the HMO being insecure and in poor repair, leaving the property vulnerable to intruders, and the escape route from the home not being fire resistant and in poor repair.
Other fire precautions at the property were not being maintained, and the council found other safety issues like electrical sockets near the shower cubicles, taped up electric cable to a fridge freezer, disrepair to other electrical sockets and no current gas safety certificate.
The council gave Zamir the opportunity to address the problems, but says he did not do so.
He has now been found guilty of one charge of failing to comply with s16 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, and 13 charges of failing to comply with HMO Management Regulations made under s234 of The Housing Act 2004.
He has to pay a victim surcharge of £181 and costs of £4,480 in addition to the fine.
A council spokesperson says: “It serves as a stark warning to landlords all over the borough that they must do more to ensure they comply with the rules, or we will take action to protect their tenants."