Rogue landlord hit with record £90,000 fine for safety failings
- Credit: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
A landlord and his management company have been hit with a more than £90,000 fine for a number of safety failings at a property in Hatfield – a record fine for the Welwyn Hatfield borough.
Mr Faraz Bucha and Captain Solutions were each found guilty of 27 charges at St Albans Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday, relating to the management of 18 The Runway and a second Hatfield property which is subject to ongoing proceedings.
Bucha and his company – also of Hatfield – were charged with eight fire safety offences at 18 The Runway, including inadequate fire alarms, lighting, fire doors and blocking key escape routes.
The property was also found to be in poor condition and the necessary improvements had not been carried out as instructed by council officers.
The court had raised serious concerns that fire regulations were ‘wilfully and negligently’ ignored by Bucha and Captain Solutions over a considerable period, despite being informed of their responsibility.
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Passing sentence, the court issued a fine of £1,500 for each charge, leading to a total fine for both properties of £81,000 and legal costs of £9,538.
The defendant also failed to attend court and the case was heard in his absence.
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Speaking about the sentence, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s corporate director Simone Russell said: “The court served a record fine for our borough, rightly reflecting the seriousness of Bucha’s negligence in putting people’s lives at risk.
“The vast majority of landlords work together with us to resolve issues, but Mr Bucha ignored our advice and warnings, giving us no other choice but to launch formal proceedings.
“I urge local landlords to join our council-run accreditation scheme, PAL, which makes it easier for landlords to understand their responsibilities.
“Residents looking for good quality accommodation can also visit the PAL website to find a property from an accredited landlord or agent in the borough.”
For help finding accommodation, visit www.pal-online.org.uk. More information and support for private tenants can be found on the council's website.