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Rogue landlord told pay £30k or go to jail

William Hatchett19/07/2018 - 12:59

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Lives of student tenants made a 'misery'
Lives of student tenants made a 'misery'

In a ground-breaking case combining consumer protection and housing law, a Nottingham landlord who threatened and intimidated his student tenants so that he made their lives an ‘utter misery’, has three months to pay fines and cost of £30,000 or face a four-month prison term. 

Rehaan Ul-Haq Rashid was licenced by Nottingham City Council to operate a property on Wollaton Hall Drive as a house in multiple occupation for six people. 

Nottingham magistrates heard that council trading standards and housing officers investigated after receiving a complaint from the students living at the property stating that Rashid had failed to protect their security deposits, failed to manage the property and acted aggressively towards them.

The students reported that Rashid would let himself into the property without notice and would park his car on the drive, sometimes as late as 10 or 11p.m. Female students reported that Mr Rashid was derogatory towards them and that they felt unsafe and intimidated. 

The licensing and compliance team discovered that the property was over occupied, with a seventh person living there. There were safety issues and poor management.

Rashid, of Kilburn Close in Bramcote, pleaded guilty at Nottingham magistrates court to 16 offences under the Housing Act 2004 and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs). The court was told that Rashid, who managed the property for his brother, was a taxi driver and involved with a car dealership. 

Recorder Evans commented that the evidence submitted to show the extent of his income was ‘completely unsatisfactory’. He said that Rashid had acted in a ‘disgraceful and unacceptable’ manner making tenants’ lives ‘an utter misery’. Two female law students who were threatened moved out early even though they had paid their rent to the end of term. A third dropped out of their course.

He was fined a total of £3,300 for the Housing Act offences, with costs of £10,000 awarded to the council. Four tenants were awarded the return of a year’s rent as compensation, totalling £17,000. For the CPR offences he received a four-month custodial sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work. Sentencing, district judge Pyle described Rashid’s manipulation and threats as ‘breath-taking’.

Rashid’s HMO licence has been revoked. He has also had his minicab licence revoked as a result of the conviction, as he is not a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold one.

Richard Chubb, principal EHO with Nottingham City Council, said: ‘While the fines imposed under HMO offences were low, Rashid received suspended prison sentence for breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, including his threatening behaviour, and substantial financial compensation was ordered to the students, and will assist them to help them finish their studies. 

We believe that this ground-breaking case demonstrates that combining consumer and housing law makes for a powerful tool for enforcers. Overall, we are satisfied with the result.’'

Jane Urquhart, portfolio holder for planning and housing and heritage, said: ‘Landlords are required to manage their property in accordance with the law. Failing to secure tenants deposits and acting aggressively towards them is not acceptable. This case shows that Nottingham City Council will take robust action through the courts to prosecute rogue landlords.’

From April 6, 2018 anyone committing a defined housing related offence such as this may receive a banning order preventing them from owning or operating rented housing. 



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