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A Stevenage buy to let investment landlord has been prosecuted for letting out an unsuitable attic room ignoring a council prohibition order.
Stevenage Borough Council had made a prohibition order in November 2014 under the Housing Act 2004, prohibiting the occupation of the attic room at a property in The Noke, Stevenage.
The council made the prohibition order due to the works completed to convert the attic room being of a poor standard, resulting in a serious fire safety hazard. The room was also excessively cold. This amounted to Category 1 hazards under the Housing Act 2004.
However, Stevenage Council received information in July of last year that indicated the attic room was being occupied.
On inspection Stevenage council officers found the attic room to indeed be occupied, in contravention of the prohibition order.
Despite some fire safety improvements having been carried out, the staircase leading to the room was deemed a serious fire risk as it had been constructed within a cupboard and was excessively steep, with no handrails, and no guard at the top of the stairs.
The required improvements to heating and insulation had also not been made to the attic room.
The council therefore prosecuted the Stevenage landlord under Section 32 of the Housing Act 2004, for contravening the prohibition order.
The landlord, Nasif Botros, was found guilty in his absence at Luton Magistrates’ Court and fined £1,760. He was also ordered to pay Stevenage Borough Council’s full legal costs of £2,571.45 and a victim surcharge of £170.
Stevenage Borough Council’s executive member for housing, Councillor Jeannette Thomas, said: ‘The majority of landlords in Stevenage provide a good standard of accommodation and much-needed housing. These are the landlords we want to keep and encourage.
‘We will not tolerate the few landlords who provide substandard accommodation and have a disregard for the health and safety of tenants.’
She continued: ‘The council will continue to use enforcement action such as prosecution, civil penalty notices, banning orders and rent repayment orders to deal with unscrupulous landlords.’