A landlord has been ordered to pay thousands of pounds by magistrates after a bedroom fire revealed tenants were living in unsafe housing conditions.
Eight people were believed to be living in the four-bedroomed semi-detached house in Slough where each room had been turned into a bedroom, after firefighters were dispatched to a blaze at the property.
The electrical fire caused serious damage to the box room as well as other areas of the house, and the council’s housing regulation officers were called in to investigate the living conditions. An emergency prohibition order was issued preventing anyone living in the property until the safety issues had been rectified.
The investigation revealed there were inadequate fire safety measures in the house including no fire alarms as well as the lack of physical protection like fire doors.
There was also the lack of safety features like a handrail leading to the attic room and no safety certification of the gas and electricity systems.
It was deemed an HMO, which was not registered with the council and the landlord did not have any of the legally required licences.
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the property in the early hours of October 8 last year, after a fire in one of the first-floor bedrooms.
The investigation revealed six rooms were occupied with a combination of bedding, blankets or sleeping bags as well as suitcases or personal effects.
Landlord Nadeem Khan, 40, admitted five offences under the Housing Act 2004 during an appearance at Reading Magistrates’ Court.
Khan told the two magistrates he had borrowed money to rectify all the issues and had taken on the property as an HMO and was unable to evict non paying tenants due to coronavirus regulations.
The council brought in the landlord licences in July 2019 to improve the quality of accommodation in the borough and making properties safer for tenants.
Councillor Balvinder Bains, cabinet member for regulation and public protection, says: “This could have had a very different outcome. A fire in the middle of the night with no fire alarms could have resulted in much more serious consequences.
“The reason there are landlord licences is to raise the quality of privately rented homes so tenants are in a compliant environment.”
Khan was fined a total of £900 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs and £90 victim surcharge.
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