Reading Council fines Landlord 12,000

A Reading landlord house been fined £12,000 for failing to maintain a rental property.

Ravinder Singh Takhar, 57, was prosecuted under the Housing Act and Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.

At Reading Magistrates Court last week he admitted six charges of failing to comply with regulations in respect of managing HMOs and one of failing to provide information in respect of a property.

Takhar, a millionaire, owned and let a house in Zinzan Street, West Reading, which had been converted into four flats. The property featured in the Reading Post in July after police suspected it was being used for prostitution.

Environmental health officers carried inspected the property between March and November last year. They found a carpet in the communal hall and stairway “filthy and ingrained with dirt” while a fire extinguisher had not been tested since November 2006.

The rear garden had become overgrown with several discarded household items in it. A gap in metal railing at the front of the house was wide enough for a small child to fall through and down to the basement flat.

Takhar has been in the property business for 30 years. Worth £6.5 million, he has investment in three hotels, three care homes and five other privately let properties in Berkshire and the West Midlands.

Michael Mullin, defending, explained Takhar was involved in litigation concerning a £6 million loan to a company he jointly owned, which also involved a hedge fund. This meant he no longer paid himself a salary but lived off dividends of around £30,000 a year.

Mullin told the court tenants would keep pets and wheel bikes up and down the stairs and also connected appliances to light fittings in communal areas to avoid paying bills, which affected the electrics.

Chair of the bench Araba McMillan ordered Takhar to pay fines of between £1,000 and £4,000 for each of the seven charges, along with £4,982.49 costs and a victim surcharge of £120.