A landlord has been fined nearly £20,000 after tenants complained of living in a rat-infested house.
Kamran Qurban, 26, was renting out all seven bedrooms of the three-storey house at 11 Bicester Road from January last year, but had failed to register the property as a house of multiple occupancy, or HMO.
Aylesbury Magistrates Court heard how the tenants, which included families with young children, couples and single men and women, were living in a rat-infested house with droppings found under the bath. One tenant moved out after discovering a rat in her room.
The run-down house had no smoke alarms, fire doors or fire extinguishers, the kitchen and refridgeration facilities were deemed inadequate for the amount of people living in the house and overcrowding was a serious concern.
The alarm was raised after Aylesbury Vale District Council environmental officer Nigel Parsons received an anonymous phone call from one of the home’s tenants, who complained about the condition of the house.
Mr Parsons visited the property to investigate and found several breaches in regulations in regards to fire safety, hygiene, sanitation, drainage and overcrowding.
Despite repeated inspections and several warnings from Mr Parsons over the house not meeting regulations, Qurban failed to put the issues right. He eventually installed several fire doors, but after inspection these were seen to be poor-quality and ill-fitting. He managed to produce valid gas and electric safety certificates after months of badgering.
Prosecutor Kate Round said: “He said the tenants had left the back door open and let the rats in.”
The magistrates heard how Mr Parsons had recorded a previous call from Qurban as far back as 2009, when he asked how to register a home as an HMO.
Despite several call backs and official literature sent to the address, Mr Parsons never heard back. Qurban failed to appear before magistrates’ yesterday to be sentenced for the five offences.
In his absence, he was fined £15,000 for failing to register the run down property as a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and £1,000 each for breaching four regulations relating to failure to provide proper hygiene, sanitation and drainage facilities; adequate fire safety and overcrowding at the property.
On top of this, Qurban will have to pay £5,521 costs and a victim surcharge of £120, bringing the total amount payable up to £25, 521.
Councillor Sir Beville Stanier, cabinet member for environment and health, said: “This is an excellent outcome which serves as a stark reminder to all landlords and letting agents that they must comply with the law or face the consequences of legal action through the courts.
“The council will prosecute those landlords who don’t have licensed properties .”