Two Oxford landlords have been fined £12,365 after being convicted of housing offences when they appeared before Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Monday 26 September 2016.
Mohammed Rashid of Arthray Road, Oxford, was prosecuted after environmental health officers from Oxford City Council investigated a rented house that he controlled on Cherwell Street in January 2016. That visit identified four unrelated tenants living in a house that had no working fire alarms, no kitchen fire door and a blocked fire escape route.
Rashid also obstructed the investigation by failing to provide documents required by the council. In court Rashid pleaded guilty to charges relating to running an unlicensed and poorly managed house in multiple occupation (HMO), receiving fines totalling £7,200 and was ordered to pay surcharges and council costs of £1,395.
Ismail Chami, 42, of Burchester Avenue, was prosecuted after the council’s environmental health officers investigated the house that he lived in with his family in April 2016. That visit identified an unrelated second family of four lodgers in the house, which also had defective door locks and no kitchen fire door. The lodgers included two children under ten years old. Chami pleaded guilty to all charges, receiving fines totalling £3,000 and was ordered to pay surcharges and council costs of £770.
In a separate legal action, the council also made a claim to the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property) to recover housing benefit money Chami had received while managing the unlicensed HMO. Chami has since paid back £1,976 of housing benefit to the council.
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services, said: “These convictions of landlords send out a clear message that the City Council will investigate and prosecute landlords whose properties are unlicensed or do not meet the required management standards. Our pioneering licensing scheme has been successfully raising standards in the growing private rental sector and we’ll continue to investigate and identify all remaining properties where landlords are seeking to avoid detection and failing to bring their properties up to scratch.”