Landlord fined £20k over housing offences including lack of HMO licence

Reading Borough Council has successfully prosecuted a landlord for having control of a house in multiple occupation without a licence.

Hafiz Mohammed Gulfraz, 43 of Andrews Road, Reading, also admitted breach of an emergency prohibition order and intentionally disrupting the gas and electricity supply to the property as well as a number of safety breaches.

The offences took place this year and related to a property on the Oxford Road in Reading. The council launched an investigation after being contacted by a tenant.

Reading’s officers believed that there was an imminent risk of harm if the five tenants remained at the property, and so served an emergency prohibition order.

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Gulfraz, the owner of the property, was ordered to pay £3,343 costs and a victim surcharge of £120 in addition to the fine.

The borough council said the defendant had been charged with 12 offences including failing to ensure that the fire alarm and emergency lighting were maintained in good working order and intentionally depriving tenants of heat and light supply.

Richard Davies, Lead Councillor for Housing at Reading Borough Council, said: "The private rented sector is large in Reading and is a rapidly growing market. Most landlords provide decent and well-managed homes but there are a few who do not meet the standards their tenants have a right to expect.

"The council will always stand up for residents who live in private rented accommodation. We take our regulatory duties for HMOs very seriously and will prosecute those who flout the law."