A LANDLORD who allowed people to continue living in his property after it had been declared too dangerous for occupation has been fined for a second time.
Four people were found living in squalid conditions, without running water and among piles of waste, in a house owned by Shahinur Choudhury, in Corporation Road, Darlington, after police were called to reports of anti-social behaviour.
The house, which was registered as a house of multiple occupation (HMO), was prohibited for use by housing officers from Darlington Borough Council in August 2012 due to the dangerous living conditions inside.
Choudhury appeared before Darlington Magistrates Court this week where he admitted one charge of failing to comply with the Housing Act. He was fined and ordered to pay court costs of £525.
The private prosecution brought by the council was the second time Choudhury had appeared before magistrates for allowing people to live in the property despite its dangerous state.
The landlord was fined £3,300 by magistrates in March last year after admitting 11 offences under the Housing Act, which included not having a working fire alarm, blocked fire escapes and dirty and damp living areas.
Choudhury, of Corporation Road, was not represented by a solicitor but told magistrates that he had been threatened by the people who lived in the house, who wanted to stay there.
He also told the court that the house was in the process of being renovated and would be used by a single occupant once complete.
David Burrell, private sector housing manager at Darlington Borough Council, said: “The landlord continued to rent out the property despite knowing that it was not safe for tenants to live in. He endangered not only his tenants but also those of neighbouring properties.
“This should serve as a warning to any private landlords who fail to ensure that their property meets basic standards – this will not be tolerated in Darlington.”
Chris McEwan, the council’s cabinet member for economy, said: “The council has a duty to act when private landlords fail to provide safe living conditions for their tenants.
“Anyone privately renting a property in Darlington has the right to expect a certain standard of accommodation and we will continue to prosecute landlords who fail to provide this.”