Two year battle to bring landlord to justice finally ends Two year battle to bring landlord to justice finally ends

A landlord who forced his tenants to live in dangerous and dirty conditions and without adequate hot water or heating has been convicted by magistrates following a lengthy prosecution by Reading Borough Council.

Abdul Naeem Hanif, 38, faced 20 charges at Reading Magistrates Court, all connected with the unacceptable living conditions at the property which he rented out.

They included a damaged electric socket outlet, smoke detector, extractor fan, door handle and cooker, plus large sections of plasterboard missing from the ceiling. There was also a failure to maintain the gas supply to the property, which resulted in a lack of adequate heating, hot water and cooking facilities.

Hanif also repeatedly ignored requests by the council officers to supply information regarding the rundown property.

Reading Magistrates found Hanif guilty of 13 of the 20 charges, which spanned breaches of the Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006; Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990; and Section 16 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

He was fined a total of £665, but stated in court he was unable to pay. Imprisonment in default of the fine was therefore imposed by magistrates to run concurrently with a sentence of four years he is serving for separate drugs offences.

The case was complicated by issues over ownership, management and later by the landlord’s conviction and imprisonment for separate offences. These factors resulted in adjournments for over two years before he was finally convicted.

One of the tenants wrote to the council following the conviction, saying: “Thanks for taking your enforcement measures very seriously. I am glad (and I do very hope so) that he will never again have the opportunity of taking advantage of his tenants. My experience with him has remained a very pronounced scar in my memory of my early months in the UK.”

Rachel Eden, Reading’s lead councillor for housing and neighbourhoods, said: “I was genuinely shocked by the conditions I saw when I met the tenants living in this property. I’m relieved that they are no longer having to put up with this.

“While most landlords are responsible, the council will continue to take action against rogue landlords who refuse to provide decent accommodation, in order protect tenants as well as support landlords who want to improve the standard of accommodation they provide.”

The property is currently being managed by a relative and Reading Council says conditions have improved.