Landlord fined over rat-infested home

A landlord has been fined £14,000 after his tenants were found to be living in hazardous conditions, with rats running freely around the house.

Landlord fined over rat-infested home

Wolverhampton Magistrates Court heard that Ranjeev Singh Sahota left his property in The Square, Wolverhampton, in such a poor state that the wiring was a danger to his tenants and rats were escaping into the house from an uncapped sewer.

Describing the case as one of the worst he had ever seen, chair of the bench Mr Stephen Edwards said: "The property was in a dangerous state with numerous hazards.

"These were categorised by the council and sufficient warning was given to the defendant to put the property right. He chose not to do so. This was wilful not neglect. There was significant hazard and risk to the occupiers to make these fines appropriate."

Bad plasterwork and loose bricks seen inside the property

Mr Sahota failed to attend the hearing on July 22, and was found guilty in his absence of breaching an Emergency Prohibition Order, failing to comply with an Improvement Notice, failing to supply documentation to the local authority and failing to return a requisition in relation to interest in land.

Sahota, aged 27, of Finney Well Close, Bilston, was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £3,703 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

In a separate case heard at the same court, also on July 22, letting agency KSS Properties Ltd and landlord Ranjit Singh Benning were sentenced following concerns over the safety of gas and electricity supplies at a property in Prosser Street, Park Village.

KSS Properties Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to respond to several requests to confirm the company's interest in the land so that further action could be taken.

The Penn Fields-based firm was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £669 costs, plus a £120 victim surcharge.

Shabby maintenance work visible at the house in The Square

Benning, aged 28, of Handsworth Wood Road, Birmingham, was found guilty in his absence and fined £3,000, ordered to pay £669 costs, plus the £120 victim surcharge.

The fines come as part of a Wolverhampton City Council crackdown on unsafe properties in the city.

The council's regeneration chief, Councillor Peter Bilson said he was pleased with the outcome of the court cases.

He added: "The safety of residents is of paramount importance to us and we will do all we can to ensure houses in the city are of a good standard.

"We work closely with landlords to ensure their properties meet the required regulations and offer a range of support and advice. Enforcement really is the last resort for us.

"We tried to work with the defendants in both these cases but, due to their lack of co-operation, we had no option but to pursue them through the courts.

"This sends out a clear message that we will not accept sub-standard living accommodation in Wolverhampton and will not hesitate to take action when required."

Photographs of the semi-detatched house in The Square, off Derry Street, just outside Wolverhampton city centre, reveal concrete crumbling off external walls and unfinished brick work surrounding a window.

Damp celings and uncovered lights can also be seen in the squaild conditions inside a bedroom, while far from being a place of relaxation, the garden features bin bags filled with rubbish piled up against the wall of the house.

Another picture shows an exit door inside the property blocked with piles of crumbled plaster.

The then Conservative group leader Councillor Neville Patten said at the time: "Charging for pest control means that pests will have an environment to proliferate in."

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