Worthing landlord exposed tenants to ‘unacceptable hazards’ by failing to improve property

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A Worthing landlord who exposed vulnerable adults and children to ‘unacceptable hazards’ by failing to carry out improvements and repairs to a rented property has been fined thousands of pounds.

When officers from Worthing Borough Council’s Private Sector Housing team inspected the house in Lennox Road, Worthing, they found over 100 areas of concern, a council spokesman said.

These included serious fire risks caused by an inadequate fire detection system and inappropriate fire separation, as well as damp and mould and electrical hazards, the spokesman said.

In May 2017, an improvement notice under the Housing Act 2004 was served on the landlady, Miss Gulnaz Khan of Selden Road, Worthing, requiring urgent improvements and repairs to make the property safe, confirmed the spokesman.

When officers later re-inspected the property on two separate occasions, they found that none of the required works had been completed and that the vulnerable adults and children living at the property were still being exposed to unacceptable hazards, the spokesman said.

Worthing Borough Council’s legal team laid one charge of failing to comply with the requirements of an Improvement Notice against Miss Khan and the case was heard at Worthing Magistrates Court.

Miss Khan pleaded not guilty but was found guilty by magistrates who stated that: “[The Council] did everything possible to help you but you have failed in your duty as a landlord.”

Miss Khan was fined £4,500 for failing to comply with an improvement notice, and ordered to pay £2,000 legal costs, as well as a £170 victim surcharge, the spokesman said.

Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Customer Services, said: “Landlords have a duty to provide safe accommodation to their tenants.

“The landlord of this house failed to complete vital works, despite being given time and assistance by the officers in the private sector housing team, and so failed in this duty.

“The Council will continue to work positively with responsible landlords but will not hesitate to take action against the small number of rogue landlords who expose their tenants to completely preventable risks.”

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