When Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Services were called out to quench a blaze in Uxbridge Road, Wexham, they discovered the property, which on paper should have been a four bedroom house, had been let as an HMO with eight people living there.
The electrical fire had caused serious damage to the box room and other parts of the house was brought under control, but not before various safety issues were noted. Slough council was called in to investigate and issued an emergency prohibition order preventing anyone living in the property until the safety issues had been rectified. It also prosecuted the landlord.
The council deemed the property to be an unlicenced HMO.
Landlord Nadeem Khan, admitted five offences under the Housing Act 2004 when appearing at Reading Magistrates’ Court last month.
Fire safety failures included a lack of fire alarms or fire doors. There was no gas or electricity safety certificates.
Khan told the magistrates he had borrowed money to rectify all the issues. He had been unable to evict non paying tenants due to coronavirus regulations, he said.
Khan was fined a total of £900 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs and £90 victim surcharge.
‘This could have had a very different outcome. A fire in the middle of the night with no fire alarms could have resulted in much more serious consequences’, said Slough Councillor Balvinder Bains, cabinet member for regulation and public protection.
‘The reason there are landlord licences is to raise the quality of privately rented homes so tenants are in a compliant environment’.