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Rogue landlord fined £15,000

The man in charge of two Boston pubs has been fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,014.82 after he admitted 30 offences relating to two HMOs (House of Multiple Occupation).

Ikram Mohammed Qutab, of Red Cow Hotel, 48 Wide Bargate, Boston, appeared before Boston Magistrates on Monday, November 7, after an inspection of the Red Cow Hotel and the Great Northern in Boston.

He pleaded guilty to an offence of managing or being responsible for an HMO which was not licensed and 15 offences under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. These offences related to a multi-agency inspection of the Red Cow Hotel on February 23.  The fire service was called in by the police because of concerns about the state of the fire alarm and detection system.

Boston Borough Council officers, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and Police inspected the premises leased by Mr Qutab. Electricity at the Red Cow had been disconnected. A fire escape was damaged with open treads and balustrades, fire doors were not fitted, electric sockets were damaged, internal fittings were in disrepair, a smoke detector was covered, there were trailing cables on the fire escape route and a common kitchen was dirty. There was damp and mould.

Fire and Rescue said there had been a failure to take general fire precautions. The serious disrepair and poor standard accommodation could have led to serious harm, or even death, for the occupants, magistrates heard.

He received a fine of £6,000 for an offence relating to an unsafe external fire escape. There was no separate penalty for these remaining charges. 

He also faced 14 charges under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 in relation to an inspection of the Great Northern.  He was fined £9,000. In addition he was ordered to pay legal costs of £1,014.82 and a victim surcharge of £120.

At the Great Northern on February 23 inspectors found the fire detection system was not working properly, there were loose and insecure electrical cables, doors were damaged, windows were in disrepair, kitchen fittings were dirty and mouldy, kitchen flooring was dirty and damaged and  appliances and electric sockets were poorly installed. The bathroom was also dirty and the flooring damaged.

In both cases inspectors gathered evidence from tenants proving the two properties were being used as HMOs.

Magistrates said that they took the matter seriously and wanted to send out a clear message to landlords or people who manage HMOs.

After the hearing Cllr Michael Cooper, Boston Borough Council's Cabinet member with responsibility for housing, property and community, said: "These issues are extremely serious, reflected in the punishment from the court. This sounds a clear message to those prepared to ignore or take a chance with the rules around HMOs, which are required by law to be licensed and must be maintained as satisfactory living accommodation.

"It is not acceptable for doors and windows to be broken or for common and shared kitchens and bathrooms to be dirty. It is criminal when fire detection systems do not work, fire doors are not installed and electrical appliances and sockets are in poor condition or not properly installed so that people are put at risk.

"The Government has recognised how important the council's work is to do all it can to ensure HMOs meet all legal requirements, having made extra funding available for the council's groundbreaking Rogue Landlords Project. We will continue to be diligent and determined."

Dirty kitchen at Red Cow Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  One of the rooms at the Red Cow Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Dirty kitchen and one of the rooms at The Red Cow

Poorly maintained bathroom at Great Northern Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  Dangerous wiring at the Great Northern Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Poorly maintained bathroom and dangerous wiring at The Great Northern

Poor state of repair at the Great Northern Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  Poorly fitted heating appliance at the Great Northern Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Poor state of repair and poorly fitted heating appliance at The Great Northern

Window at the Red Cow. Attempt to block draughts Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Window at The Red Cow. Attempt to block draughts