Rogue landlord prosecuted for ‘House of Horrors’

PR2167/AB/MF - 08/05/2018

A local landlord has been prosecuted for failing to properly maintain and manage his property, which put the health and safety of his tenants at risk.

Mid Sussex District Council carried out an inspection of Grove House, Copthorne after receiving a number of complaints from tenants. The property, which is a House of Multiple Occupation, was found to be in an extremely poor state of repair.

The issues were so serious that the Council undertook immediate emergency repair works to ensure the safety of the tenants. The Council repaired unsafe electrics, removed combustible items from the stairwell, repaired a faulty fire alarm system and reinstated hot water and heating in the building.

Mid Sussex District Council issued the landlord, Mr Hamedur Choudhury, with an Improvement Notice that required him to rectify an extensive list of further defects and instructed him repay the cost of the emergency repair works. The property had serious problems with damp and mould growth, excess cold, pests and refuse, sanitation and drainage, electrical hazards and fire safety but Mr Choudhury failed to correct these issues.

On 25 April 2018, Mr Choudhury pleaded guilty at Crawley Magistrates Court to failing to comply with the terms of an Improvement Notice, as well as offences relating to the breach of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations and failing to licence a House of Multiple Occupation. The Magistrates’ Court fined Mr Choudhury a total of £17,012.89, including the Council’s costs.

“Everyone deserves to live in a safe and decent home,” said Councillor Norman Webster, Cabinet Member for Community. “The living conditions we discovered at this property were completely unacceptable. It was a real House of Horrors that put the health and safety of the occupants at serious risk.

“All rented accommodation must provide a safe and healthy environment for tenants and their visitors. If these standards are not being met our advice is always to inform the landlord first, to give them the opportunity to fix any problems. However, if a rogue landlord refuses to take their responsibilities seriously then we won’t hesitate to take action against them to ensure that they comply with the law.”