The council has taken firm action against two landlords and a letting agency for illegally evicting a tenant and failing to gain a statutory licence which specifies good management practices.
Mr Ghulam Ljaz, of Chippinghouse Road in Sheffield, and UK Legal Estates Ltd, of Wolseley Road in Sheffield, were convicted on 7 August of failing to licence a large shared house on Granville Road where at least 10 people lived. Sheffield magistrates imposed a £2,000 fine on UK Legal Estates, who must also pay a £120 victim surcharge. Mr Ljaz was fined £1,000 and must pay a £100 victim surcharge and costs of £1,073.
Also in court was Mrs Shamim Ali, of Witney Street in Sheffield. She was convicted on 7 August of harassing her tenants into leaving their rented house on the same street. Sheffield magistrates imposed a 12 month conditional discharge. She must also pay £993 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Councillor Harry Harpham, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said: “More than 35,000 households live in private rented housing in Sheffield and we work hard to make sure they live in safe and well managed properties.
“We’re fortunate that the majority of landlords in Sheffield are responsible, provide good quality housing and support our work to target irresponsible landlords using the legal tools we have available.
“We want to send a clear message that if you are a private landlord or agent in our city, you must take your responsibilities seriously. We will take firm but fair action against those that do not and are pleased that this has been recognised in the court this week.”
The Witney Street tenant had complained to the Council stating that Mrs Ali had been threatening, used abusive language and forcibly entered their home throwing their belongings outside and frightening their young daughter. Mrs Ali was convicted under the Protection from Eviction Act, 1977, which makes it a criminal offence to evict a tenant without following the legal procedure which usually includes giving notice and then applying to court for a Possession Order.
In the second case, involving the Granville Road property, Sheffield Council safety inspectors found missing or badly fitted fire doors, a blocked fire escape, inadequate kitchen and bathroom facilities and overcrowding. It was reported that UK Legal Estates were making a profit on the house of £2,350 each month.
The Council’s Private Housing Standards team deal with around 2,000 enquiries every year relating to the conditions and management of private rented homes. They carry out the legal regulation of landlords in Sheffield and provide advice and education programmes to inform and improve the quality of landlords in the city. This type of action is part of the Council’s commitment to making sure the private rented sector is safe, responsible, successful and a valued housing option for people in Sheffield.
Sheffield City Council prosecuted a further landlord this week. On Tuesday 5 August landlord Naveed Hussain, of Pitsmoor Road in Sheffield, was found guilty of making his tenant leave unlawfully. It was heard that Mr Hussain grabbed and twisted the tenant’s wrist, ordered him to leave, racially abused him, and started to remove his possessions. He was prosecuted by Sheffield City Council and is on conditional bail until 28 August when the Court will decide on sentencing.