Business owner fined £7,500 for substandard staff accommodation
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Stevenage Borough Council has successfully prosecuted a business owner for providing staff with unsafe living conditions at a property in the Old Town.
Following an investigation by the borough council, it was determined that Modris Ali - of Raj Mahal at 84 High Street, Stevenage - had failed to comply with a prohibition order that had been served to him regarding the poor housing conditions at his property.
The case was heard at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on Friday, August 13, where Mr Ali pleaded guilty to five charges of breaching a housing prohibition order by allowing people to live at the unsafe premises where there were inadequate fire precautions, no heating and cracked and broken windows.
The only available bathroom and kitchen facilities were those in the restaurant and the property was in a poor state of repair - allowing rats and other pests to enter.
Mr Ali failed to comply with numerous requests by the council to not allow people to live in the property until there had been improvement works.
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As a result, he was fined £5,000, and was ordered to pay Stevenage Borough Council’s legal costs and a victim surcharge, totalling £7,500.
Cllr Jeannette Thomas, executive member for housing, health and older people at Stevenage Borough Council said: “The majority of Stevenage landlords provide a good standard of accommodation and comply with the legislation.
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"The Environmental Health and Licencing team work with landlords and business owners to provide support and advice and have continued to do so throughout the peak of the pandemic.
"It is only fair and reasonable that landlords, including business owners providing staff accommodation, who provide unsafe and poor accommodation are held accountable with punishment ranging from fines and rent repayment, to being banned from being a landlord.”
If you are a landlord or business owner and need advice, or you are a tenant/employee living in poor accommodation email firstname.lastname@example.org.