A Dudley landlord who kept properties in a state of disrepair and flouted fire regulations has been ordered to pay £10,000 for his dangerous and neglectful behaviour.
Mr Rakesh Sandhi, sole Director and Shareholder of Northgate (Dudley) Ltd, which rents bedsits within premises in King Street, Dudley, received the fine after charges were brought by Dudley Council’s legal team.
The premises had been converted into bedsits and were let to a number of tenants over the last three years, netting Mr Sandhi an income of over £24,000 in a period of about 15 months.
Inspectors from the council’s private sector housing enforcement found the units to be filthy and dangerous with total disrespect for fire safety regulations and in some cases dangerous electricity supplies were also reported.
Mr Sandhi was charged with 24 offences under Regulation 4 of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006); two charges under Regulation 7 of the Regulations, one under Regulation three and one final charge under Section 72 (1) of the Housing Act (2004).
The bulk of the charges related to Sandhi’s failure in his duty as a manager to take safety measures, in particular in relation to keeping fire escapes free from obstruction and maintained in good order and repair. He also failed, under Regulation 3, to provide his name, address and contact details to each household in the HMO and detailer were not displayed in a prominent public area, as required.
He further failed in his duty as a manager to maintain common parts, fixtures and fittings and appliances in good and clean decorative repair, maintained in a safe and working condition and kept reasonably clear from obstruction, in accordance with Regulation 7. The final charge under Section 72 HA 2004, reflected Sandhi’s operating a house of multiple occupancy without a licence.
This is the second conviction for Mr Sandhi in relation to this property, having been convicted for similar offences in 2014. It is also Mr Sandhi’s third conviction in terms of management of multiple occupancy properties, as he was convicted for similar offences for a different property in High Street, Dudley in 2016.
Mr Sandhi pleaded guilty to all 28 charges, the justices fined him £400 per offence totalling £11,200. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £40 and full costs of £1,936.65, with a final sum of £13,176, payable within 14 days.
Councillor Gaye Partridge, cabinet member for housing said:
“We will not stint when it comes to challenging and prosecuting landlords who put their tenants’ safety and very lives at risk.
"These properties were in a shocking state of disrepair, but more significantly flouted essential fire safety regulations which are designed to help keep tenants safe.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this case and would warn anyone who doesn’t take their landlord responsibilities seriously that we will take action. Any residents who fear they may be in a similar situation can call Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345 and we will investigate their circumstances and prosecute where it is warranted.”