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Fines in spate of housing prosecutions

23 August 2018

UNSCRUPULOUS LANDLORDS found to be in serious breach of property management regulations have been ordered to pay more than £27,500 following a series of prosecutions brought by Manchester City council.

Council officers found a catalogue of breaches of management regulations when visiting properties in response to reports of serious concerns about tenant safety.

The legal action was taken as the council continues to pursue enforcement action against landlords whose property fails to meet the required standards.  

The city council’s Rogue Landlord team proactively identify and challenge landlords and agents with poor management practices in a bid to tackle unsafe and sub-standard accommodation citywide.   

The properties visited were subject to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) legislation which is in place to ensure minimum safety standards – including fire safety and gas safety – for shared houses. HMO licences are mandatory for properties with five or more unrelated people who share a property comprising of three or more storeys.

The owner and landlords of a property on Dolland Street, Harpurhey were ordered by Manchester Magistrates Court to pay a total of £12,270 after each was found guilty of twelve offences for breaching their legal responsibilities under the Housing Act 2004.

A council inspection found the property had been illegally converted into a three storey shared house. Unapproved and unlawful structural changes had been made to both floor and ceiling heights meaning a window was shared between two storeys. Fire safety precautions had been ignored and the electrics were unsafe.

The condition of the property was so dangerous it was deemed a serious safety risk for its tenants and a Prohibition Order was served. The order forbade the property’s occupation until repairs were completed to make the property safe.

On a return visit to the property, the property was found tenanted - in breach of the Prohibition Order - and no remedial work had been carried out.

The owner, Muttaz Kattrany of White City Estate, London, who also resides in Cyprus, was fined £6,500 with costs of £500 and a £170 victim surcharge.

Abass Asady, 50, of Ribblesdale Avenue, Northalt was fined £2,600 with costs of £500

Zaki Al Samah, 56, of Dollond Street, Harpurhey was fined £1,500 with costs of £500.

In other separate prosecutions brothers Naweed Ahmed, 48 and Abdul Waheed Rafiq, 49 both of Aldborough Road, South Ilford were ordered to pay £7,839 and £7,455 respectively.

Ahmed was fined £5,668 with costs of £2,001 and a £170 victim of crime surcharge. His property - on Church Street in the city centre - was found to be overcrowded and in disrepair, with hazardous electrics and inadequate fire precautions in place.

Rafiq, landlord of a property on Thomas Street in the city centre, was fined £2,500 with costs of £4,785 and a £170 victim of crime surcharge. The property, a two bedroomed flat, had been illegally converted into five bedrooms and was found to be overcrowded, in a state of disrepair and had inadequate fire precautions in place.

Executive member for housing and regeneration at Manchester City Council councillor Suzanne Richards said, “It is simply unacceptable for landlords to fail in their legal obligations and as these prosecutions show, those who are caught stand to pay a heavy price. HMO licensing is in place to ensure the safety of tenants and when landlords fail in their obligation to comply, they are putting the safety of their tenants at risk.We will continue to pursue enforcement action to defend the rights of tenants and will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone whose property fails to meet the required standards.”