A READING landlord previously handed a record fine for failing to meet safety requirements at his property has seen several charges levelled against him dropped.

Mohammed Zamir was hit with a £66,000 fine back in December 2020 after a Reading Borough Council inspection of his Short Street house, which was found to be in multiple occupation, featured serious security and fire safety concerns and was in a state of disrepair.

But the landlord will now only have to pay £4,151 in fines and costs after six charges brought against him were withdrawn.

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Mr Zamir pleaded guilty to the remaining charges, which were levelled against him after inspectors found socket outlets adjacent to shower cubicles and a taped up electric cable next to a fridge freezer.

The half-dozen dropped accusations were withdrawn after Mr Zamir re-opened the case having missed the initial hearing in December as he was ill with covid-19.

At Reading Magistrates Court on Friday, April 16, Zamir pleaded guilty to the remaining eight charges, which included:

  • Failing to display a notice identifying the name, address and number of the manager of the property
  • Failing to ensure all common parts of the property were in a safe working condition and kept from obstruction
  • Failing to ensure all means of escape from fire were kept free from obstruction and in good order
  • Failing to ensure fire-fighting equipment were maintained in good working order
  • Failing to ensure all electrical appliances were in clean working order

Speaking to the Chronicle, Mr Zamir laid the blame at the door of his managing agents.

He said: “[The judge] accepted my mitigating circumstances which made me "technically guilty" due to the fact that I had inherited the issues due to poor management by my appointed managing agent for which I had no knowledge or control of the defects previously.

“The managing agent has now been sacked.

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“Unfortunately the law holds the landlords responsible despite rogue managing agents not doing their job properly, they simply walk away untouched when things go wrong.

“In my circumstances unfortunately I feel the Council was quick to put the blame on me as a landlord and use me as a scapegoat because it is harder for them to pursue managing agents.

“I was stuck in the middle between the Council and the managing agent and unfortunately I have had to pay the price.”

A Reading Borough Council spokesperson said the authority’s Private Sector Housing Team made several visits to the Short Street property between October 2019 and February 2020.

These visits revealed each flat at the property was in multiple occupation with a number of HMO management regulation breaches identified alongside the safety issues.

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The spokesperson added: “At a trial in December 2020, The Council prosecuted Mr Zamir and he was found guilty by the Courts in his absence. Mr Zamir subsequently successfully applied for the case to be reopened.

“An inspection was carried out on the 31st of March of the property in Short Street by a Senior Environmental Health Officer in the presence of Mohammed Zamir and his solicitor. The property was unoccupied and found to be broadly compliant.

“Mr Zamir subsequently pleaded guilty to 8 charges relating to failures to carry out his duties under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006.

“At a sentencing hearing on 16th April 2021, Mr Zamir offered mitigating factors. He was fined a total of £2,000 and the Council was awarded costs of £1,970.”

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