A Landlord of a house of multiple occupancy has been prosecuted and sentenced to pay a fine of more than £5,000.
Syed Masum Ali appeared in Stafford Magistrates Court last Wednesday and was prosecuted under the Housing Act 2004 for contravening prohibition orders and an improvement notice at the property on Walsall Road, in Cannock, above Spices restaurant and was sentenced to pay a total fine of £5,180.
Mr Ali continued to let the accommodation to several unrelated people, including a young couple with a baby, whilst serious hazards such as fire safety were in existence.
Environmental health officers from Cannock Chase Council carried out an early morning raid with Staffordshire Police in October last year and found inadequate means of escape, inadequate fire separation between the accommodation and the restaurant and some occupants were without any kitchen or bathroom facilities.
Mr Ali was sentenced to pay a fine of £4,500, £560 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
Councillor Frank Allen, portfolio leader for housing, said: “We are pleased with the result and hope it sends a strong message to rogue landlords operating in the district. We are committed to ensuring that a safe and satisfactory standard of accommodation is provided to tenants living in private rented properties. Council officers work with responsible landlords to achieve this aim, but where unacceptable standards are not properly addressed, officers will pursue enforcement action against those responsible.”
Houses in multiple occupation provide an important source of accommodation for people on low incomes and often vulnerable people. However, some of the worst housing conditions are found in these houses including inadequate smoke detection and escape routes in case of fire, lack of basic amenities such as kitchens and poor management.
Whilst this action arose from a complaint received from concerned residents, environmental health staff proactively inspect houses in multiple occupation to ensure standards are met and do not hesitate to use enforcement powers to improve standards where hazards are found.
This prosecution should act as a deterrent to rogue landlords who let out dangerous housing.