A Peterborough landlord has pleaded guilty to three offences and ordered to pay more than £12,000 for breaching health, safety and good practice standards in a rental property on Princes Street.
The offences include illegal eviction, breach of a Prohibition Order and failure to provide information and documentation to the local authority.
Mohammed Tanveer of Cromwell Road pleaded guilty to illegally evicting a tenant from his home in Princes Street in February 2016 at Peterborough Magistrates' Court last Monday (10 April). The court also heard that Tanveer allowed the same property to become occupied while subject to a Prohibition Order.
Prevention and Enforcement Service officers were first alerted to problems last February when they received a complaint about an illegal eviction and a general state of disrepair.
When officers visited the property they found serious safety hazards and that it had been converted into two flats without meeting planning and building regulations. The hazards included inadequate heating, security, power and fire safety measures, overcrowding and a number of other breaches under the Housing Act 2004.
The court heard that the occupying tenant had returned home from work one evening to find that the locks had been changed with his possessions still inside, and that the property had already been re-let to another tenant.
Further investigations highlighted the safety hazards which resulted in the Prevention and Enforcement Service officers serving a Prohibition Order in May. Although this prohibited the use of the entire property for residential purposes, officers were contacted in July 2016 with allegations that the property was again occupied with new tenants unaware of the Prohibition Order that was in force.
On the third count Tanveer was asked to provide information and documentation to the council to declare his interest in the property and that of any others. These requests were made in February and March but both times Tanveer failed to respond.
Summing up the court highlighted the unpleasant and undue distress the illegal eviction had caused the victim. In sentencing Tanveer was ordered to pay £4,000 compensation to the victim, a £3,500 fine for the illegal eviction, the council’s £4,344 costs and a victim surcharge of £170.
Senior Prevention & Enforcement Officer Peter Bezant said: “Residents’ safety and well-being is a top council priority and this is an excellent result which is reflected in the level of fine and compensation awarded to the victim by the court.
“We hope the case serves as a warning that the council will not tolerate poor and illegal practices in the housing sector. This was an awful ordeal for the victim and we will continue with a zero tolerance policy for offenders, prosecuting those who flout the law.”
The Prevention and Enforcement Service continues to work with landlords and lettings agents in order to raise awareness about good housing standards. This includes advice and assistance to help them comply with their legal obligations.