Rogue landlords pay the penaltyPublished Monday, 6th August 2018
A rogue landlord who failed to carry out adequate gas and fire safety checks has been fined more than £2,000.
As part of Rotherham’s selective licensing programme, which regulates the standard of private rented homes in parts of the borough. Mohammed Hanif Khan was found guilty at Sheffield Magistrate’s Court for several breaches of conditions in relation to licences held for properties on Wellgate Mount, Wellgate and Selborne Street in Eastwood. In total he was ordered to pay £2,015.03 in fines and costs.
Magistrates also imposed further fines against six other rogue landlords from Rotherham in relation to unlicenced properties (details below). The mandatory selective licensing scheme was introduced in May 2015 to cover parts of Maltby, Dinnington, Eastwood and Masbrough and requires landlords to licence privately rented properties.
Licences are issued to those who meet a number of criteria including carrying out annual gas safety checks; an electrical safety check; providing energy performance certificates; fitting and maintaining smoke detectors and providing occupants with a written tenancy agreement.
The latest fine comes as Rotherham Council is about to consult on expanding the scheme in two other parts of the borough, Thurcroft and Parkgate, where housing standards are below national averages. These areas were singled out because of high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as suffering from significant amounts of environmental problems such as fly tipping and littering.
Since the scheme first began the Council has identified problems in a number of houses which landlords have been required to address. Issues range from a lack of adequate fire detection and efficient heating, to a lack of window restrictors on first floor bedroom windows to stop falls from heights. Initially a large number of landlords were unable to demonstrate their properties were Gas Safe.
A report to the Council’s Cabinet points out that 91 per cent of the homes inspected in the first selective licensing areas required action to make them safe. Ten properties were found to be an imminent and serious risk to the safety of tenants and had to be closed to occupation.
Cllr Dominic Beck, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said: “The selective licensing scheme is designed to improve the lives of tenants and their local communities. We know that in many areas vulnerable residents face some specific problems, often including poor health, which can be made worse by poor quality housing. Selective Licensing is one tool that enables the Council to intervene and drive up standards, to the benefit of the wider community as well as tenants themselves. There are of course many good landlords in the private sector but our aim is to drive up standards and, where we find faults, we will take action.
“Landlords should take the warning from these court cases that they risk heavy fines if they fail to obtain a licence or comply with conditions. This should send a loud and clear message that you should take your responsibilities very seriously.”
The Cabinet today (Monday 6 August) agreed to recommend a public consultation begins on the proposals to expand the selective licence area. A further report will come back to the Cabinet in December on the outcome of the consultation.
These are the other five landlords convicted this month:
- Saidya Halima of Cameron Road, Derby, who was found to be operating an unlicensed property on Belmont Street, Masbrough. The selective licensing team prohibited the property from use after deeming it not fit for human occupation. This was a result of concerns around the external doors, a rotting floor in the living room and the fire place. She complied with the prohibition order, but has been ordered to pay £1,000 fines and costs for operating without a licence.
- Masood Hanif of Hollowgate, Rotherham was found guilty of operating four flats without a licence on Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood. He was ordered to pay £1,038.55 fines and costs. He has since applied for his licence.
- Mohammed Iqbal and Nazir Begum of Grosvenor Road, Eastwood were charged with failing to license a property on Milton Road, Eastwood. Their fines and costs total over £2,275.
- Kala Khan of Doncaster Road, Rotherham was ordered to pay fines and costs of over £1,000 for failing to license a property on St. Ann’s Road, Eastwood. He has since applied to license the property.
- Basharat Rafiq, also of Doncaster Road, Rotherham was given a fine and costs of just under £1,000 in relation to an unlicensed property on Lindley Street, Eastwood.
For more information on selective licensing, or to apply for a licence: