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Hefty fine after prohibition order on rental property ignored

A buy to let investor who let out a converted attic room despite it being the subject of a council prohibition order has received a hefty fine.

Stevenage council made the prohibition order back in November 2014, banning the occupation of the attic room at a house in the town.

The order was made due to the poor standard of works to convert the attic to habitable accommodation, which the council claimed resulted in a serious fire safety hazard and one of excess cold - these are category 1 hazards under the Housing Act 2004. 

Environmental health officers visited the property in July last year, acting on information received by the Council which suggested that the attic room was in occupation. The officers confirmed this was the case.

Although some fire safety improvements had been made, the staircase leading up to the attic room was deemed a serious safety risk, as it had been constructed within a cupboard and was excessively steep, with no handrails, and no guarding above the staircase opening. 

Officers also found that required improvements to the heating and insulation within the attic room had not been made.

As a result, the property owner, Mr Nasif Botros, was prosecuted under Section 32 of the Housing Act 2004, for the offence of contravening a prohibition order. 

At a hearing at Luton Magistrates’ Court he was found guilty in his absence. He received a fine of £1,760 and was ordered to pay the council’s full legal costs of £2,571.45 as well as a victim surcharge of £170.

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