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'Beds in sheds' landlord hit with £7,000 fine

A landlord has been fined £7,000 for letting two properties which were unfit for habitation.

Shahzad Mehmood was prosecuted at Swindon Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to two Prohibition Orders.

Local environmental health officers visited one of Mehmood's properties and found tenants living in an outbuilding separate to the main property, commonly known as a 'bed in a shed'.

Officers also discovered a second property with a similar set up.

Both dwellings breached the Housing Act 2004 for overcrowding, fire safety and excess cold.

The second property was reportedly in very bad condition.

There was mould growth, insufficient lighting and smoke or heat detectors.

A further inspection found that the bathroom ceiling was missing and an oil-filled heater had been placed next to a bed.

The landlord was fined £3,500 for each of the breaches to the Prohibition Orders and was also ordered to pay court costs of £2,803.

"Beds in sheds, as they are known, are increasingly becoming a problem locally and nationally and it appears that landlords feel they can get away with providing sub-standard accommodation," said Rebecca Martin, an environmental health officer at Swindon Borough Council.

"The message that I want to get across as a result of this successful prosecution is that they cannot and it is obvious from the size of the fine imposed in this case that the courts take such matters extremely seriously."

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