Peterborough landlord fined for housing family in overcrowded, dangerous property

A landlord who housed tenants - including young children - in an overcrowded, dangerous property when he had been told to make improvements has been hit with a big fine.
The property in Occupation RoadThe property in Occupation Road
The property in Occupation Road

Raashid Alyas (35) of Mayors Walk, the owner of the property in Occupation Road, Peterborough, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay another £1,000 in other costs at Peterborough Magistrates' Court after admitting a number of offences relating to the home.

The court heard how Peterborough City Council officers visited the home in March 2016, and said it was suitable for four people to live there, as a third bedroom was deemed too small.

However, a family of seven were living there.

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The council inspection also discovered a number of dangers in the house, including having no smoke alarms, fire hazards surrounding an electric shower and a kitchen light switch, problems with the double glazing and roof insulation - which could have meant a quarter of the house's heat being lost - and other problems with damp and mould.

The council ordered Alyas to make improvements to the property - and also prohibited him from renting it out until it had been made safe.

However, by November 2017 the work had not been carried out, and the family was still living at the property.

Andrew Burton, prosecuting for Peterborough City Council, said the authority agreed a number of time extensions with Alyas, but the work was still not done.

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The court heard Alyas had hired a builder to do the works - but initially he was delayed on another job, and was then taken ill - and Alyas could not find another builder.

He said he had allowed the family to stay in the property as they had nowhere else to go.

They have since been rehoused with help from the Council's accommodation team.

The work has also now been carried out.

Alyas appeared at court on Tuesday, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to comply with a housing improvement notice, and one count of failing to comply with a housing prohibition order.

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Alyas said he was struggling financially - but Chair magistrate Alan Jones said the defendant had received around £6,000 in rent from the family during the period after the prohibition order was in place.

Alyas was fined £4,000, and ordered him to pay £910 costs,and a £170 victim surcharge.

A council spokesman said they would interview Alyas and review his landlord licence at a later date.

Peter Bezant, Senior Housing Enforcement Officer at Peterborough City Council, said: "We are satisfied with the sentence handed out by the magistrates as this was a serious case which involved a number of offences.

"We will always look to take appropriate action whenever we become aware of any breaches of housing legislation."