A LANDLORD in Leamington has been fined £50,000 for potentially putting tenants’ lives at risk.
Warwick District Council prosecuted Harmesh Bagga for failure to licence and properly manage three houses in the town.
Bagga, who let the properties to students through Ignite Properties, was fined £50,000 plus costs after a trawl of letting agents websites by council housing officers found the properties for rent with no “house in multiple occupation” licences.
Magistrates at Nuneaton Justice Centre heard Bagga had let two properties in Warwick Street from September 2013, and a property in Clarendon Avenue since September 2012, without obtaining licences.
Magistrates told Bagga they were appalled at what they had heard and the offences were so serious he had put tenants at risk of injury and even death.
Officers inspected all three properties in January this year and discovered a number of breaches of the management regulations, including a disabled fire alarm system, means of escape and stairways partly blocked, and inadequate fire separation from commercial property.
There was particular concern as accommodation was above food premises where there was an increased risk of fire to those living above.
District housing spokesman Coun Vincett said: “The vast majority of landlords work well with the council and provide good quality accommodation.
“However my officers will not hesitate to enforce the law where tenants’ health and safety is at risk and landlords blatantly disregard the law.”
The case follows four similar prosecutions of landlords operating in Leamington last year.
Landlords or tenants in need of help and advice are urged to contact the council’s Private Sector Housing Team by emailing [email protected] or calling 01926 456733.