The prosecution of a private landlord who let out a ‘filthy’ house highlights the dangers faced by tenants, the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) has said.
Ravinder Singh Takhar, 57, who was 248th in the 2005 The Times Asian Rich List, was prosecuted under the Housing Act and Local Government Act.
He admitted six charges of failing to comply with regulations in respect of managing houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) and one of failing to provide information in respect of a property, at Reading Magistrates Court last month.
Joanna Morrissey, representing Reading Borough Council, explained how Takhar owned and let a large house which had been converted into four flats.
Miss Morrissey said a carpet in a communal stairway was “filthy and ingrained with dirt” while a fire extinguisher was covered in dust and had not been tested since November 2006.
Takhar was ordered to pay fines of between £1,000 and £4,000 for each of the seven charges, along with £4,982,49 costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
Pat Barber, chair of the AIIC, believes the case highlighted a number of the hazards faced by tenants.
She said: “It is an unfortunate truth in the UK, many disadvantaged tenants are put in danger by unscrupulous landlords who exploit their vulnerability. Some of these tenants have to live in properties, full of dangerous hazards which put their safety at risk.
“We have seen no end of dangerous hazards in a range of properties including faulty gas boilers and fires, excessive mould throughout the property, exposed electric wiring, gardens littered with rusty car parts and other metal items and faulty fire alarms.
“Many families and young children are at risk from negligent landlords, all of whom have a duty of care and as such, should be making regular visits to properties, every three months, to check health and safety.”
According to the AIIC, the most common dangers are severe damp and mould, bare wiring, broken windows, dilapidated sheds, overgrown gardens with broken glass and holes in the ground, large wardrobes and cupboards not securely fixed to the wall, faulty boilers, damaged and leaning brick walls, no keys for window locks and no smoke alarms fitted.