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Landlord fined over £50,000 for multiple offences at property

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2021

A landlord who committed 33 offences at a property he owns has been issued with civil penalties totalling £50,500, in what is the largest housing-related fine handed out by the Borough Council to date

Zaheer Uddin Babar, who owns the property at 60 Colwyn Road, was first contacted by the Council’s private sector housing enforcement team in March 2015 requesting that he license it as a House in Multiple Occupation.

Following five further unactioned requests to apply for the licence, the team inspected the property under warrant in June 2019 and found several breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, then issued two Improvement Notices as a result.

The introduction of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 gave the Council powers to impose civil penalties and the funds generated through these fines enabled the expansion of its private sector housing enforcement team in 2018, who work to target criminal landlords through an intelligence led, risk-based approach.

Among the most serious hazards found at the property in Colwyn Road were missing handrails and banisters on staircases, a partially collapsed and waterlogged ceiling, a faulty fire alarm and fire door and exposed electrical wires.

A range of other problems were also discovered, including broken external door locks, faulty windows, along with damp and mould, while the kitchen and bathroom were filthy and in a poor state of repair.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, Cabinet member for housing and wellbeing at Northampton Borough Council, said: “The conditions in this property were squalid and hazardous, and posed a real danger to the tenants living there.

“Landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure that properties are clean, safe and in working order for their tenants, and our Housing Enforcement Team will continue to take action against such failings, through their extensive surveillance work and information received from local residents.”

Mr Babar appealed to the First Tier Tribunal which upheld civil penalties totalling £50,500. He has paid £500 against one of the civil penalties and now has 28 days to pay the remaining amount. Failure to pay will result in the Council taking action to recoup the debt, which may include enforced sale of his property.

The Council’s Tenancy Support Officer is working with the eight tenants to help them claim back up to 12 months rent from Mr Babar.

Anyone suspecting that a property may be operating as a HMO can report it to the Private Sector Housing Team by emailing [email protected] or phoning 0300 330 7002.