It’s only 13 days into the New Year but Reading Council has already secured a heavy fine for a local landlord, who must now pay £66,000 after flouting HMO rules.

Mohammed Naseer Zamir, 41, had claimed that his property in Short Street consisted of two self-contained flats, each one occupied by a single household, when in fact it was an HMO.

During several visits, the council’s private sector housing team then identified serious security and fire safety concerns, as well as general disrepair.

The main external entrance door was insecure, leaving the property vulnerable to intruders, while fire precautions weren’t properly maintained, putting the occupants at risk.

A long list of safety issues were also spotted, including socket outlets next to shower cubicles, taped-up electric cable to a fridge freezer and poorly maintained socket outlets.

No current gas safety certificate was supplied when requested and concerns about fire safety were so serious that the fire service was brought in to carry out a joint inspection.#

Ignored informal requests

Reading Magistrates Court heard that Zamir failed to comply with the council’s written request for information about the property and then, despite being given the opportunity to address matters informally, failed to carry out the necessary work.

He was found guilty of one charge of failing to comply with the Local Government Act and 13 HMO management regulations charges. He was also ordered to pay £4,480 costs and a victim surcharge of £181.

The council’s lead member for housing, John Ennis (pictured), says this acts as a stark warning to landlords to comply with the rules.

“Our Reading Rent with Confidence scheme is also helping by awarding gold, silver and bronze standards based on quality of accommodation and good management practices,” he says.

“By providing good landlords with a market advantage and potential tenants with confidence, along with prosecuting substandard landlords, we are driving up living conditions for Reading’s residents.”

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