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Big fine for landlord who put tenants’ safety at risk

A council has prosecuted after a landlord who it alleges put his tenants’ safety at risk.

Beej Patel and his company Hatfield Lettings LTD (Trading as Moving Places) were taken to court under the Breaches of HMO  Management Legislation 2006.

St Albans magistrates court imposed fines on both the defendant and company for each of the six breaches of the HMO regulations. 

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This included obstructions to the fire escape route at the property, loose stair carpet causing a tripping hazard, and failure to maintain the credit to both the gas and electric meters, causing there to be a lack of lighting, heating and hot water. The fine encompassed a victim surcharge and court costs, which totalled over £15,000.

The court considered that the lettings within the property were to vulnerable students who were not in a position to pursue their landlord in respect of breaches of the HMO regulations which had potentially serious consequences, and this was reflected in the severity of the fine.

Patel, who attended the hearing with his solicitor, said in mitigation that he had a 'rent to rent' agreement with another agent. But the court still found Patel guilty under the legislation.

A Hatfield council spokeswoman says: "This result sends a clear message that landlords cutting corners in their responsibilities with houses in multiple occupation will face legal consequences.

"The court served a substantial fine for our borough, rightly reflecting the seriousness of Mr Patel and his company's negligence, potentially putting people's lives at risk. A big thank you to our partners at the University of Hertfordshire and Trading Standards for all their support during this lengthy process."

The council says local landlords are encouraged to join its accreditation scheme, PAL (Partnership Accreditation for Landlords) which offers support for landlords to understand their responsibilities. 

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    Fair enough sounds like a rogue landlord and I bet all his tenants would likely come under the same heading, otherwise why would they remain living in those conditions, horses for courses as the saying goes

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    One of the disadvantages of a Company, you get fined and the Company gets fined doubling the fine. The bit that’s missing here is the Rent 2 Rent Agent if indeed that was the case.
    This Rent 2 Rent is wide spread in London. I have been approached several time by Agents & Individuals alike but never fell for it. They take your property at the rent you advertise it for, so huge numbers are doing it, they then sub-let it for short let’s or AirBnB making a good margin for themselves sometimes double. So there is no cost on them, don’t own anything so there’s no Mortgage’s to pay and when it all over goes belly up the Landlord is still responsible, could be an element of that here, so landlords take heed and don’t fall for Rent 2 Rent in my eyes its a widespread scam

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    Michael. I may have missed something here. A fine is a fine. If the fine is £1,000, someone pays but I don't get the double dipping issue. They either fine you as a company or as an individual. If they do both, it will be for different reasons. Are you saying they can double up on one fine? That does not sound like UK law?
    Point taken on AirBnB. This has opened up a new can of worms.

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    Mr viper, r u a legal professional ? It says that the company and Mr Patel were both find.The student occupants were described as "vulnerable" (why ? They are adults,) Failure to maintain credit on the meters ? Sounds as though the meters are prepaid ones, possiboy in the

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    Sorry , computer playing up, or someone's interfering. I am querying vulnerability of tenants and who was responsible for paying utility bills ? I have reason to believe that judges are taking a hard line with landlords.

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    Vulnerable, normally describes the poor me whingers who feel that they are entitled to the free ride.

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    I am fascinated by this, it's obviously a council press release, it's claimed that the student tenants are vulnerable, although such people are highly educated. That the council had support from the ( students ?) University,, and because students were vulnerable couldn't pursue a complaint themselves ? So why did the university pursue it, is the education so poor that the students couldn't complain.sounds like a stichup. normally the university couldn't care less about the students outside of uni.

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