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Two landlords hit with combined £27k fines for renting dangerous properties

RENTING out dangerous properties in Cardiff has cost two landlords thousands of pounds.

Last Friday (February 9), Rowshanara Begum, of Clive Street, Grangetown, was fined £20,000 at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court for failing to comply with five Improvement Notices for work to a house she rents out in Blaenclydach Street, Grangetown.

The previous day, on Thursday February 8, Lawford Cunningham, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, was fined £7,000 for failing to comply with legislation relating to the licensing and management of a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) he owns in Ferry Road, Grangetown.

19 Blaenclydach Street, Grangetown, Cardiff

This case came to light when a tenant living at the two-storey Victorian property, which has been converted into four self-contained flats, complained to the council that the property wasn’t to the required standards.

Following an inspection, housing officers were shocked to find significant defects which were deemed to be a danger to tenants living in the property, including:

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  • No fire alarms and defective fire doors
  • No escape route for the inner rooms in the building
  • Unsafe kitchens, dirty carpets, and penetrative damp
  • Unprotected electricity meters, unsafe electrical installations, and unsafe windows.

The case was brought to court by Shared Regulatory Services on December 1st 2022, where Begum was fined £10,000, and ordered to pay costs and charges of £2,190. It was made clear to Begum that the improvement works identified through the inspection had to be completed by March 2022, but these were never carried out.

A further summons was issued on Begum to attend Cardiff Magistrates’ Court last Friday, and a further fine of £20,000 was handed down, along with a charge of £1,000 in costs and a further £2,000 surcharge.

43 Ferry Road, Grangetown, Cardiff

This case also came to light when a tenant living in a self-contained flat in the property complained to the council that the accommodation was in breach of the standards as an HMO.

A Housing Inspector visited the four-storey Victorian property, which has been converted into four flats, to assess whether the landlord was renting out the property in breach of the regulations. The inspector once again found a catalogue of failings, including:

  • A defective fire alarm, incomplete fire doors and dangerous electrics throughout the flats
  • Lack of fire protection for the electrical meters and lack of sufficient heating
  • Poorly maintained communal escape route and accumulation of waste in the front and rear yards
  • Damaged kitchen worktops and defective and damaged floor coverings.

The case was brought to court on November 16, 2023, where Cunningham pleaded guilty to 24 offences. The case was adjourned, as financial records were requested for other properties in the Cardiff area that Cunningham owned and rented out.

After Cunningham failed to provide the requested financial accounts, the case was listed at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court again on January 4, 2024, but the case was adjourned until last Thursday (February 8) when Cunningham was fined £7,000, and ordered to pay £367.80 in costs, with a victim surcharge of £2,000.

Councillor Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Communities at Cardiff Council said: “The majority of private-sector landlords provide a good service for their residents, but unfortunately there is a minority that do not.

“When we take these matters to court, we do this to benefit the residents living at these properties, so that the faults identified are fixed and the properties are safe to live in. As one of these cases show, we do make the necessary checks to ensure that the work is completed, and if it hasn’t been, we will look to prosecute the landlord again.”

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