22 December 2016

Housing enforcement officers had their busiest period in November when Sheffield City Council secured more convictions against rogue private landlords compared to any previous month.

During November, the authority took seven landlords to court for offences relating to disrepair, safety measures, failing to meet legal requirements, harassment or illegal eviction. All seven pleaded guilty or were found guilty, with the largest fine and court costs awarded at £29,220.

Every year the council responds to around 2,000 complaints about private housing, with most relating to safety, damp and cold. In the last six months the authority has prosecuted nine landlords. It has more court cases pending and just this week (on 20 December) convicted a landlord for failing to improve the standard of his properties.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Housing at Sheffield City Council, said: “We had a particularly busy time in November and prosecuted some landlords that engaged in really bad practices.

“Everyone has the right to live in safe housing and be treated in a respectful, lawful way, but sadly that’s not always the case. We see people who have been badly treated, put at risk or exploited, and we will do whatever we can to clamp down on this.

“We’ve got some great landlords in Sheffield and the vast majority meet their responsibilities. But we’re targeting our efforts on those that don’t and the worst landlords, and will continue to use all our legal powers to do this.”

Sheffield City Council gives information and support to people having problems with rented housing. This includes tenants, landlords and letting agents. Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/privatehousing for more information.

Details of November court cases:
The seven cases brought to court during November were:

1. Mark Cashin, of Over Lane in Baslow, D.O.B 2.09.1969, was found guilty of 56 offences at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 8 November 2016. He was ordered to pay fines, court costs and a victim surcharge totalling £29,200.

Speaking after the court case, one former tenant, Yasmin Wong who lived in Cashin’s property on Glover Road for two months earlier this year, said: “The guy ruined my life. It was horrible and the house was a complete disaster – three or four windows were broken so it was completely freezing. And there were times when we had no electricity for three or four days and he didn’t care.

“I was alone and didn’t have anyone in Sheffield or know what to do. In the end I left. It was two months of hell.”

2. Global Property Management Limited of 92 Owler Lane in Sheffield pleaded guilty to a harassment offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 at Sheffield Crown Court on 14 November 2016. The council was awarded fines and their costs totalling £3,000.

The court heard how a representative from the company went to the address and threatened to throw their female tenant, her three children and all their possessions out of the property by force.

3. Nazia Bibi, of 23 Wansfell Road in Sheffield, D.O.B 23.09.1981, pleaded guilty to unlawfully depriving her residential occupier of his occupation of the premises at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 29 November 2016. She was given 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay the council’s costs and a victim surcharge totalling £1,200.

The court heard how, following an incident at the rented property, the council issued a series of warnings to Mrs Bibi. Despite this on 12 February 2016 at around 2.30pm, the tenant arrived back home and found his belongings outside of the house. He was not allowed back in.

4. Nasir Sherazi, of 53 Clarkegrove Road in Sheffield, was found guilty of failing to licence a House of Multiple Occupation and five offences of mismanagement of an HMO at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 15 November 2016. He was ordered to pay a fine of £3,000, costs of £970 and a victim surcharge of £50.

5. Altaf Hussain, of 48 Silverdale Road in Sheffield, pleaded guilty to failing to obtain a selective licensing for a house in a mandatory selective licensing area. He was ordered to pay fines, court costs and a victim surcharge totalling £800.

6. Munir Mahmood, of 32 Spital Hill, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to non -licencing and 10 management contraventions at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 22 November 2016. He was ordered to pay £4,920 in fines, court costs and victim surcharge.

7. Pavol Danko, of 29 Brathay Close in Sheffield, D.O.B 10.12.1982, previously pleaded guilty to a Protection from Eviction Act offence of unlawful eviction. On 18 November 2016 Sheffield Crown Court ordered him to pay all the council’s court costs of £3,434 and gave him a 12 month conditional discharge.

On 20 December:

Mr Hamed Ibrahim, of 285 Owler Lane, pleaded guilty to seven counts of failure to comply with Improvement Notices and two counts of failing to comply with Housing of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) management standards at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 20 December. He was ordered to pay a fine of £5,000, court costs of £1,173 and a victim surcharge of £55 – totalling £6,228.