A Bristol landlord has been found guilty of renting out poor quality accommodation that posed a serious risk to life.
Deepak Singh Sashdeva, who was absent in court, was found guilty of offences under the Housing Act 2004 and Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation 2007.
The offences relate to accommodation he was renting out at his Premier shop premises on Avonmouth Road in Avonmouth.
Environmental Health officers found three people, including two young children, sleeping in cupboards in the eaves of the roof.
Officers also noted that the two separate living spaces housed nine people including two children and a pregnant woman.
These were some of the worst conditions Environmental Health officers working in this field have seen.
Other property defects included:
large gaps around fire doors
offering no protection from potential fire or smoke hazards
no working fire detection in place prior to emergency smoke detectors being fitted by the council
One of the studio flats also lacked basic ventilation, with no external windows and limited access via a poorly maintained staircase
The amount of money Singh Sashdeva was ordered to pay in fines
The amount Mr Sashdeva is to pay in a victim surcharge
The amount Bristol City Council was awarded towards costs
The Magistrates felt that the high penalty reflected the money made from the tenants, given the severity of complete disregard for the safety of tenants, particularly children and the serious risk to life the property posed.
In a separate case in court that afternoon, landlord Zahoor Ahmed and his brother Qumar Zaman both pleaded guilty to failing to apply for the correct licence for their property on Whitehall Road in St George West.
Both also failed to respond to notices served under Section 16 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and Section 235 of the Housing Act 2004, requesting information and documents be provided to the Council.
Zaman, who was acting as property manager, was also found in breach of the requirements of the Housing Act 2004, having previously had licence application refused as he was deemed not fit and proper to hold a licence or to be in management of licensable properties.
Magistrates took both Zahoor and Zaman’s early guilty pleas into account in regard to renting out a number of properties, with the Magistrates acknowledging that both men were experienced landlords who should have known better.
The amount the brothers were each fined
The amount the brothers were ordered to pay in costs
The amount the brothers were ordered to pay in a victim surcharge