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Letting agent pleads guilty to a string of offences

A letting agent has been prosecuted for the first time in Cardiff for failing to manage a rented property to the required legal standards putting tenant's lives in danger.

Aspire LMS Ltd - trading as Aspire Residential - which operates from Penarth Road in Cardiff was prosecuted at Cardiff Magistrates' Court yesterday.

Both Mr Yasir Tufail, who was the director at the time of the offences,and the companyAspire LMS Ltd,were fined £5,800 each after pleading guilty to ten charges.

Officers from the Shared Regulatory Service visited 20 Lower Cathedral Road on June 13th2017 and found that five people were living in six bedrooms in the house. The inspection found a number of failings which put tenants' lives in danger.

The failings included:

  • No working smoke detectors in the house;
  • The emergency gas shut-off valve was located in the front bedroom so couldn't be switched off in an emergency;
  • Electric points were overloaded;
  • Lighting wasn't adequate in communal areas;
  • PVC windows were damaged.

District Judge Bodfan Jenkins told the defendants that ‘cost cutting' was an aggravating feature in this case and that the defendants tried to ‘hinder the investigation.'

In mitigation, Mr Prys-Lewis - representing Mr Yasir Tufail explained that the defendant is of good character, the work on the property has now been completed and the house is not now being used as a house of multiple occupation. They accepted that they had failed to put into place measures which were ‘recognised standards in the industry.'

Cllr Michael Michael, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Shared Regulatory Services at Cardiff Council said: "Landlords have been prosecuted in the past for these types of offences but this is the first time a letting agent has been prosecuted. Fire safety is very important and I am pleased that the court has reflected the serious nature of this case in the fine that was handed down."

Yasir Tufail and Aspire LMS ltd were both fined £5,880 each, and were ordered to pay £2,050 costs each and a victim surcharge of £170 each.