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Ashford Landlord fined £5,000

Ashford Landlord fined £5,000 for breaching law regarding Houses in Multiple Occupation in Prosecution by Ashford Borough Council

Press release

28 October 2019

The owner of a house believed to be occupied by multiple tenants has been successfully prosecuted by Ashford Borough Council for failing to co-operate with attempts by the authority to ensure that the quality of the accommodation meets acceptable standards.

Josh Basharart Ahmadwas fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £650 in legal costs and a victim surcharge of £170 after being found guilty at Canterbury Magistrates Court.

Lawyers acting for Ashford Borough Council told magistrates that the property, 6 Canterbury Road in Ashford, came to the council's attention as an empty property due to its condition located in a prominent position within the town. The authority wrote to the owner asking for his co-operation in bringing the house back into use.

Ownership of the property then changed hands twice between 2016-2018 and the council later discovered it had been refurbished and it was assumed the house was being used by a large number of people, magistrates heard.

To protect tenants in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) from poor conditions, local councils are responsible for monitoring and regulating the quality of the accommodation and ensuring that there are not too many people living in the property. All HMOs with five or more people comprising of two or more family units require a licence to operate.

The new owner was Josh Basharat Ahmad, and in April 2019 the council wrote to him at his known addresses and visited his business to hand deliver a legal notice requiring him to provide information about the property, to co-operate with their enquiries and to meet to discuss the requirements for a potential HMO licence.

Magistrates were told that enquiries by council officers suggested that the house in Canterbury Road had more than five occupants but unless this could be confirmed by the owner, the council was unable to issue a licence nor take enforcement action.

Ahmad failed to respond to all attempts to establish the occupation of the house, who received the rent and who had an interest in the property, leaving Ashford Borough Council with no option but to prosecute.

The charge was that on or around 2 May 2019 he failed to comply with a requirement of a notice served on him in pursuance of section 16 (1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

This requirement was detailed in a notice dated 11 April 2019 served on the defendant by Ashford Borough Council which gave him 21 days to provide information contained within the notice, information that was relevant to an examination or investigation taking place, contrary to section 16 (2) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

Ahmad did not attend court on 22 October so an application was made to prove the case in his absence. The application was granted and magistrates decided the case proved and he was found guilty.

They imposed a fine of £5,000 and ordered him to pay £650 towards the council's legal costs. A victim surcharge of £170 was levied on the defendant and he was ordered to pay in full within 28 days.

Sharon Williams, head of housing at Ashford Borough Council, said: "We have a responsibility to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents. We will not hesitate to take legal action against the owners of properties who flout the rules designed to safeguard their tenants.

"Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation who fail to hold an appropriate licence or breach the terms of the licence, could face serious penalties, including hefty fines and criminal prosecution. I would urge all landlords to ensure they comply with the legislation. If you are an existing landlord or someone who is about to become one, I advise you to contact us for help and guidance - email"

The council will now serve a further legal notice on Josh Basharart Ahmad requiring him to provide information about 6 Canterbury Road, to co-operate with their enquiries and to meet to discuss the requirements for a potential HMO licence.


Public relations issued on behalf of Ashford Borough Council.

For more information contact:

Darren Laws
01634 671167
07958 304375