Dilapidated property caused 'life threatening safety harm' on New Street, Aylesbury

Aylesbury Vale District Council were responsible for the prosecution
Aylesbury Vale District Council were responsible for the prosecution
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Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) secured a criminal prosecution on Monday following a breach of Housing regulations at a shared property in New Street, Aylesbury.

Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) secured a criminal prosecution on Monday following a breach of Housing regulations at a shared property in New Street, Aylesbury.

The owner of the property, Mr Ayaz Mohammed Riaz of Buckingham Road, Aylesbury, was prosecuted following an investigation into living conditions.

The investigation was initiated after Environmental Health received information from a member of the public about an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

On 14 August 2015, Environmental Health Officers were accompanied by members of Thames Valley Police and found 13 people, including 5 children, living in the offices above a former restaurant.

The premises were in very poor condition, with numerous safety issues that had the potential to cause life threatening harm. Issues included overcrowding, live exposed electrical wiring, no working fire detection or adequate means of fire escape, no kitchen facilities, one working toilet and a damp and dirty shower room.

AVDC immediately rehomed the two families from the property and issued an order prohibiting the use of the property for residential occupation . A further visit to the property in the following months then revealed that a number of people were still living at the property, as Mr Riaz had ignored the prohibition order.

On 12 December 2016, Mr Riaz was found guilty of breaching housing regulations. Magistrates in Milton Keynes fined him for the offence of failing to licence a HMO, seven offences relating to breaches of HMO management regulations and a further offence relating to failure to comply with the terms of a prohibition order.

The total fine, comprising the victim surcharge, costs and fine, came to £3800.

Cllr. Sir Beville Stanier, Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said: “This has been a successful incident where two families have been moved from a potentially hazardous property into safe accommodation and the landlord has been appropriately prosecuted. We take unlicensed HMOs very seriously, and urge anyone who suspects that these activities are taking place to get in touch with us immediately so that we can help those affected.”

HMOs are usually the cheapest accommodation in the private rented sector and are often poorly maintained and occupied by the most vulnerable individuals and families. AVDC introduced an additional licensing scheme in September 2014 which aims to improve conditions in HMOs.

If you are living in a similar property go to http://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/section/housing , emailenvhealth@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk or telephone 01296 585605 for advice or to report poor conditions.