Crawley landlord who rented out dangerous and overcrowded house fined

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A private landlord who rented out a dangerous and overcrowded house was successfully prosecuted by Crawley Borough Council.

Bushra Akhtar, of Medlar Close, Langley Green, pleaded guilty to two charges of non-compliance with an Improvement Notice and four charges of failing to comply with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 – all offences under the Housing Act 2004.

Akhtar was renting out her property in Cedar Close, Langley Green, as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) to a number of tenants on a room-by-room basis, when the council received information that indicated the house was overcrowded and subject to hazardous and unlawful living conditions, said a council spokesman.

He added: “A joint investigation was carried out by officers from the council’s Private Sector Housing Team and Corporate Fraud Investigation Team, which established evidence that the property was overcrowded and in a very poor state of repair. A number of fire risks and other deficiencies were identified, which resulted in serious health and safety hazards within the property.

“Despite numerous attempts by the council to seek Miss Akhtar’s co-operation to undertake the required repairs and remedial works, nothing was done to remedy the situation and she continued to charge her tenants rent regardless of the conditions.”

Akhtar was convicted and fined £5,000 and the council was awarded costs of £2,460 at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on Friday (September 11).

Councillor Stephen Joyce, Cabinet member for Housing, said: “We take a very dim view of landlords who ignore our requests to make repairs to dangerous properties. I hope this case will act as a warning to any other landlords who think they can get away with renting out hazardous or overcrowded properties.”