Rogue landlord fined £36,000 for unsafe property
A rogue landlord with a property in Northampton has been ordered by Northampton Magistrates to pay £36,000 in fines plus legal costs after pleading guilty to twelve charges.
Abdul Mukit of Moorfoot, Fullers Slade, Milton Keynes admitted failure to apply for a licence to operate the property – in Whitworth Road – as a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
When Northampton Borough Council’s housing enforcement team visited the property, they found a total of 77 breaches, including electrical safety issues, obstructed fire exits and poorly maintained communal areas.
Mr Mukit had previously been served with an improvement notice, but he failed to comply with it. In mitigation, he suggested he did not have enough money to bring the property up to standard. The court heard that he received income from three separate properties, including one in London.
The defendant also said he intended to rent his Whitworth Road property out to families in future, rather than operate it as an HMO, even though he would still have needed to comply with the improvement notice before letting it out.
Cllr Stephen Hibbert, Northampton Borough Council’s Cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “The level of fines reflect how seriously magistrates considered these breaches to be.
“Most landlords in Northampton are excellent, keeping their properties to a good standard and ensuring that, if their properties require an HMO licence, they are licensed on time.
“We will continue to take a hard line with criminal, rogue and irresponsible landlords who think it is okay to put their tenants’ health and safety at risk.” For each of the 12 charges, Mr Mukit was fined between £2,000 and £4,000. In addition to the £36,000 he must pay in fines, Mr Mukit was also ordered to pay the Borough Council’s costs of £2,850.22 and a victim surcharge of £170.
Northampton Borough Council is in the process of expanding it private sector housing enforcement team, using the income that it is expecting to receive from civil penalties. This is possible due to the new legislation introduced by the Housing and Planning Act 2016.