Two rogue landlords and their companies have been fined more than £300,000 after being found guilty of housing 18 tenants in a squalid Bristol HMO.
Adam Habane, 51, of Dove Street, and Lloyd Beckford, 60, of Lower Ashley Road, split the building in Lower Ashley Road into seven poorly converted flats, where families, including six children, were forced to use cramped filthy bathrooms and inadequate damaged kitchens (pictured).
When Bristol City Council’s private housing team visited in September 2019 there were no operating fire alarm systems; their concern for the residents’ safety was so great that they immediately provided battery operated smoke detectors.
The property also had holes in the ceilings and hallways which meant fire and smoke could easily pass within the flats, as well as obstructed fire escapes, doors that didn’t shut or lock and electrical systems in poor repair.
After the visit, some of the families were moved on or rehoused and the council continued enforcement action, but in March 2020 they returned to the property after tenants complained there was no hot water or heating.
This time they found similar conditions along with a broken boiler. A request for gas and electricity safety certificates was ignored.
At Bristol Magistrates Court, the pair were convicted of poor management of an HMO and failure to provide information about the property.
The companies managing the property, Ashley Marketing Services and Eunicareltd Ltd, and their directors Habane and Beckford were handed fines and costs of £334,500.
Councillor Helen Godwin (pictured), cabinet member for women, children and homes, says: “We are committed to protecting people in private housing against the risks posed by poor property management and unacceptable conditions.
“This case illustrates clearly that we will use appropriate powers to prosecute those who put tenants in danger through their own neglect or sub-standard practices.”
Read more: Bristol HMO regulation ‘a mess’.