October 4, 2008

Landlord Fined Pounds 3,500 for Risking Tenants’ Safety

A LANDLORD has been fined pounds 3,500 by magistrates after ignoring a council order to improve a property in which tenants' safety was put at risk.

Action was taken by Blyth Valley Council against Harjit Singh Bariana after he failed to carry out required health and safety improvement work on the house in Salisbury Street, Blyth.

Council officials and officers from the Northumberland fire service inspected the property a year ago following a referral from the police.

It was found to be in a poor state of repair with a number of issues that threatened the safety and well-being of tenants. A lack of fire protection combined with inadequate means of escape resulted in the fire service seeking closure of the property.

The council served a formal notice under the Housing Act, requiring Mr Bariana to put the problems right, but despite numerous site visits, telephone calls and letters, no works were ever completed.

He was prosecuted in his absence at South-East Northumberland Law Courts in Bedlington, where magistrates fined him pounds 3,500 plus costs. The maximum fine for the offence is pounds 5,000.

Yesterday Coun Gordon Webb, who is responsible for environmental protection in Blyth Valley, said landlords have a duty to ensure their properties are safe for tenants.

"Mr Bariana initially took no heed of the notices served by the fire service or the council and continued to put his tenants at risk. Following increased pressure from both parties, tenants were finally found alternative accommodation but no repair works were ever undertaken at the property."

(c) 2008 The Journal - Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.