Father and son fined £16k for renting out dangerous house in Rugby

He was fined �4,750
He was fined �4,750

A father and son have been fined a total of £16,200 for renting out a house which was a danger to its tenants.

Wali and Abbas Mohammed, both of Crowsfurlong, Rugby, were prosecuted after Rugby Borough Council’s housing enforcement team discovered a catalogue of licence and management regulation breaches at the house in Murray Road.

The council issued an House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence for the four-storey, terraced property in August 2014, with Wali Mohammed the licence holder and his son Abbas the HMO’s manager.

During an inspection of the house in October, housing enforcement officers highlighted a number of safety issues to Abbas - including breaches of fire safety regulations and exposed electrical wiring. Abbas was told he was putting the lives of his tenants at risk and told to make the necessary improvements.

But when officers returned to the house in January they found that the issues remained unresolved, so took the decision to prosecute.

Wali Mohammed was charged with 13 counts of breaching the conditions of his HMO licence.

The 51-year-old was found guilty in his absence by magistrates at Warwickshire Justice Centre in Nuneatonon on June 22, who fined him a total of £10,700. He was also ordered to pay £400 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

Abbas Mohammed pleaded guilty to six counts of failing to comply with HMO management regulations and one count of breaching HMO licence conditions. In mitigation, Abbas said he had “overlooked” addressing the problems at the property due to being a full-time father and a carer for his 90-year-old grandmother. He told magistrates work had been carried out at the house since the inspection in January, so sentencing was briefly adjourned to give him the opportunity to have photographs of the improvements emailed to him.

He was fined a total of £5,500 and was ordered to pay £400 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Leigh Hunt, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for sustainable inclusive communities, said: “HMO regulations protect the health and safety of tenants, and unscrupulous landlords who flout the law tarnish the reputation of the many responsible private landlords in Rugby.

“While we’re keen to work with landlords to make sure properties meet the required standards, landlords also need to know we’ll pursue reports of substandard accommodation and prosecute when necessary.”

Tenants with concerns over conditions at a rented property can report the matter to the council anonymously by completing the online form at www.rugby.gov.uk/housingenforcement

Landlords who need advice on HMO regulations can contact the council’s housing enforcement team on (01788) 533882 or email hen@rugby.gov.uk