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A Devizes landlord has been fined £11,600 after he exposed tenants, including a family with children, to dangerous living conditions.
Rogue landlord Ansar Butt, 39, of Thurman Court, Devizes, admitted guilt regarding 24 breaches of the Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulation as well as four counts of failing to undertake works following the issue of an improvement notice.
The trial took place at Swindon Magistrates Court. This followed a prosecution taken out by Wiltshire Council on a property located at Bedborough Farm, London Road, Devizes.
The most serious defects found in the property included faulty fire detection and exposed wiring, as well as a lack of hot water and heating and significant disrepair. These issues seriously impact the quality of life experienced by tenants in the property and leave it unfit for human habitation. They also have the potential to risk the lives of the property’s inhabitants due to the fire hazards that several of the issues pose.
Mr Butt told the court that his tenants were eastern European workers who had found difficulty finding homes in Devizes. He stated that the property, which he bought for £160,000 in 2013, was now empty and on sale.
The landlord was also ordered to pay costs of £1,894.50 as well as a victim surcharge of £170.
For other HMO landlords, the Government has confirmed that the extension of mandatory HMO licensing is due to come into force from October 1, 2018. This is subject to Parliamentary approval. The new legislation tightens the rules on when a landlord must apply for a licence to rent out multi-occupancy houses.
Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for housing, Richard Clewer, spoke out about the potential impacts of the changing regulation: ‘We urge any landlords of HMOs that are unknown to the council to make an enquiry and contact the private sector housing team.’