A SOUTH Manchester landlord and a major letting agency have been ordered to pay a combined total of just under £40,000 by the Magistrates Court for breaching regulations for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Rashpal Singh, 48, was fined £11,000 for managing a HMO property without the correct license, and failing to comply with the regulations of licensing regulation.
Singh pleaded not guilty repeatedly in court, but later changed his plea, and was convicted of multiple offences at the property in Moss Side.
Council officials where alerted to the breach of licensing when a small fire broke out in the properties kitchen. Following the fire, the City Council carried out a joint investigation with the Fire Service.
The property was found to have dangerous electrics, a defective smoke alarm, and only one exit for eight tenants, though the high risk kitchen.
Letting agent H4U group limited was also charged, after being found guilty of managing two unlicensed properties in Withington.
HMO licenses are mandatory for properties with five or more unrelated tenants, comprising of three or more stories.
Manchester City Council have actively pursued breaches of property regulations this year, with fines from the Magistrate Court and the Residential Property Tribunal totalling £65,819.
Cllr Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader for Manchester City Council was pleased with the results of the tribunal.
She said: “I’m pleased to see the decision by the Residential Property Tribunal – ordering the repayment of housing benefit – which highlights the untenable situation of tax payers’ money going to unscrupulous landlords who think they can let sub-standard housing.”
She also reinforced the councils tough stance on landlords.
“Our message to landlords is simple – bring your property up to standard, make sure your tenants are safe and get a licence where the law requires one.”
By Lewis Smith