04:45PM, Friday 29 April 2016
A private landlord has been hit with a £11,620 bill for failing to ensure his rented property was safe for his tenants.
Kamlesh Jechand Mehta, 59, from Greenford, appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday charged with a series of housing offences relating to a property he owns and lets in Tintern Close, Chalvey.
During a visit to the two-storey, eight-bedroom house on January 22, 2015, housing enforcement officers from Slough Borough Council (SBC) found a catalogue of problems, several of which were a risk to the safety of the seven people living there.
Smoke detectors were missing or hanging by their wires, a fire extinguisher did not have a safety pin or a tamper-proof seal, a garden wall leaned and wobbled when touched, and the rear patio was in a poor condition.
Elsewhere in the house, a broken light in a communal corridor posed a trip hazard, a fire door didn’t close properly and a stair handrail had come away from the wall brackets, leaving it perched precariously.
The kitchen was dirty, with a sink and drainer that were bent and unsupported in their units. The flooring was ripped and badly fitted, wires were exposed in the light switch and there was a large hole in the ceiling.
The bathroom and ground floor toilet were also very dirty, with paint peeling off the surfaces and damage to the plasterboard, floor coverings, tiles and grouting.
Two toilets could not be used in privacy because the doors were broken and a waste pipe to one of them was leaking.
One of the bedrooms had an extensive patch of damp in the corner, thought to have resulted from broken guttering.
The court heard how the property had previously been the subject of a three-month closure order, enforced by the council and Thames Valley Police in June 2015, and extended for a couple of weeks in September after repeated concerns about anti-social behaviour at the address.
Rhian Richards, resilience and enforcement team leader for SBC, who led the investigation, said: “Mr Mehta used the bad behaviour of some previous tenants as a reason for his failure to maintain the property.
“However, the judge said the tenants’ behaviour did not diminish his duty to the others, and he was satisfied Mr Mehta was well aware of his responsibilities.
“Ultimately, Mr Mehta had little regard for his tenants’ safety and we believe he only did the work because we stepped in.”
Mr Mehta was found guilty of 13 breaches of The Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and fined £6,000.
He was also ordered to pay £5,500 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
Mr Mehta was found not guilty of three other offences, relating to a broken internal door, smashed glass in the front door and a damaged bathroom floor, which the court felt had not been proven to be his responsibility.
Mr Mehta has since made the required improvements at the address.
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