COPY OF WBC PRESS RELEASE.
27 April 2015
PRIVATE LANDLORD COUNTS COST OF PROVIDING FALSE INFORMATION
A private landlord who provided false documents and endangered the lives of his tenants has successfully been prosecuted at Redhill Magistrates’ Court (Tuesday 14 April 2015) and ordered to undertake 200 hours unpaid work, in addition to fines totalling £7,000.
Mr Pervez Akhtar, the landlord of 12 Moorholme, Woking, rented the three storey property to a number of unrelated tenants and as a result the property was required to possess a House(s) of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) licence from Woking Borough Council. Despite being contacted by the Council on a number of occasions, Mr Akhtar did not apply for a HMOs licence. Instead, Mr Akhtar provided the Council with fraudulent tenancy agreements which meant he could avoid licencing the property.
Under the Housing Act 2004, properties require a mandatory HMOs licence if they have three stories or more, five or more tenants forming more than one household, and share kitchen or bathroom facilities.
The property was also poorly managed, and Magistrates heard that Mr Akhtar had put his tenants in danger due to the absence of fire safety precautions in the property which included an inadequate fire alarm system.
Mr Akhtar was found guilty of four offences and sentenced as follows.
- Fraudulently providing tenancy agreements – undertake 200 hours unpaid work
- Failing to licence a House(s) of Multiple Occupation – fined £2,000
- Failing to comply with fire safety regulations – fined £3,000
- Intentionally suppressing documents relating to a tenancy agreement – fined £2,000
Mr Akhtar was fined a total of £7,000 and ordered to undertake 200 hours community service, plus pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £762.18 and a victim surcharge of £120.
In February, Mr Akhtar was required to repay £6,895.66 in Housing Benefit payments after the Council successfully applied to the Residential Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order, as he had failed to obtain a HMOs for the same property.
Neil Coles, Woking Borough Council’s Housing Standards Manager, said: “Woking Borough Council will not tolerate the actions of private landlords who put their tenants at risk or think they can provide us with false documentation. They should not underestimate the seriousness of failing to comply with their legal obligations, which as in this case, could lead to a significant fine.
“I would therefore urge private landlords operating within the Borough to ensure that they understand the regulations and work with Council officers to operate their business professionally to avoid prosecution by the Council.”
For further information about standards and advice about disrepair in rented properties, or for more information about requirements for House(s) in Multiple Occupation and property licences, please visit www.woking.gov.uk or call 01483 755855.