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A Biggleswade landlord has been hit with a bill of £8,000 after allowing a flat to be occupied by tenants despite serious health and safety issues.
Landlord Cevdet Karakoc allowed a flat situated above commercial premises in Biggleswade’s Hitchin Street to be occupied despite the fact that there were several associated safety issues.
The problems were uncovered during an investigation by Central Bedfordshire Council. The council’s housing solutions team discovered that flat’s fire detection and fire escape route were insufficient and unsafe, potentially risking the lives of the tenants. The flat also did not have heating and had problematic electrical installations as well as insufficient bathroom and kitchen facilities, and risks associated with the stairs.
Karakoc pleaded guilty to an offence under the Housing Act 2004 in front of Luton magistrates. He was ordered to pay a total amounting to of £7,989.96 in fines, costs and surcharge.
Councillor Carole Hegley is responsible for housing at Central Beds Council. She said: ‘Cases like these can be notoriously difficult to investigate and to bring to court, so I am delighted at this excellent result and that the landlord has been brought to justice. Residents who rent privately should be able to do so with confidence that the conditions do not present a hazard to their health and safety. That is why we will continue to pursue landlords and managing agents who fail to rectify hazards, as well as those who fail to produce the correct legal documentation.’
Following the discussion of the serious hazards the housing solutions officers served a prohibition order on the flat in March 2017. This required that it could not be occupied in its current state because of the problems identified. When the council reinspected the site in November last year it was found that Karakoc had failed to comply with the prohibition order as the flat remained occupied. In addition, the work required had not been done within the specified time. Central Bedfordshire Council therefore proceeded to prosecute him.