TWO local landlords have picked up hefty fines after ‘putting lives at risk’, a court ruled last week.
Khalil Ur Rehman Saleemi and Roy Searle are counting the cost – some £20,000 between them – after being found guilty by Redhill Magistrates of renting substandard accommodation to private tenants.
Mr Saleemi, of Dartmouth Avenue, Sheerwater, was fined £15,000 and additional costs for renting rooms on the side of his shop in Monument Road to tenants who shared communal facilities. Council officers found that the accommodation was in a particularly poor condition: rooms were without windows, depriving natural light and creating serious health and safety hazards.
Conditions were so bad that the council carried out emergency works to enable the occupiers to remain, but legal proceedings were instigated in respect of Mr Saleemi’s poor management.
Magistrates heard that the accused had put his tenants at risk by not providing fire doors, smoke detectors or a safe escape route from the accommodation in the event of an emergency.
Mr Saleemi did not attend court but was still sentenced to three offences under the Housing Act 2004.
The guilty party was also required to pay the council’s full prosecution costs of £939.61 and a victim surcharge of £120 – bringing his total fine to £16,059.61.
Meanwhile, Roy Searle, of Horsell’s Bury Lane, was fined £2,450 for poorly managing a three-storey property he rented out as two separate flats to tenants who shared communal facilities.
Magistrates heard that Mr Searle had put his tenants at risk by not maintaining fire doors; not providing a safe means of escape in the event of a fire; failing to provide adequate heating; and not addressing a missing stair handrail or the dampness of the rooms.
Mr Searle pleaded guilty to five offences under the Housing Act 2004. He was also required to pay the council’s full prosecution costs of £1,137.47, court costs of £150, and a victim surcharge of £65 – bringing the final financial penalty to Conservative Councillor Colin Kemp, who is Portfolio Holder for Homelink & Private Sector Housing, said the council will not tolerate such failings.
He added: “Our main concern is the health and safety of private tenants, and landlords should not underestimate the seriousness of failing to comply with legislation.
“Yet we are keen to support landlords by working with them to ensure they meet their statutory obligations and provide advice where necessary. I would therefore urge private landlords to contact Woking Borough Council to discuss their properties.”