HMO property had multiple safety failings

An emergency Prohibition Order was placed on a property in Reading after local authorities identified a string of safety breaches.

In January 2015, Reading Borough Council’s private sector housing team received a complaint from a tenant at a property in Oxford Road that the property was not being adequately maintained. An investigation was launched, which identified that the property owner, Hafiz Mohammed Gulfraz, had intentionally disrupted the gas and electricity supply.

He also failed to ensure that the fire alarm and emergency lighting were maintained in good working order and intentionally depriving tenants of heat and light supply. The council believed there was an imminent risk of harm if the tenants were to remain living in the property and as such an emergency Prohibition Order was served. In addition, the property had been unlicensed as a house in multiple occupation, even though there were five tenants living there.

Gulfraz appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 23 October and pleaded guilty to 12 separate offences. He was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £3,343 in costs.

After the hearing, lead member for housing councillor Richard Davies said: ‘Most landlords provide decent and well managed homes but there are a few who do not meet the standards their tenants have a right to expect.

‘The council will always stand up for residents who live in private rented accommodation. We take our regulatory duties for HMOs very seriously and will prosecute those who flout the law.’