10 Nov 2016

Housing and Planning

Another successful landlord prosecution

Bristol City Council has successfully prosecuted a private landlord, and the company where he is currently a director, for two separate cases of letting properties in a substandard condition.

Following an investigation by Bristol City Council, MB Estate Ltd and Munjit Singh Dulay a director of MB Estate Ltd, were found guilty at Bristol Magistrates Court and ordered to pay total fines and costs of more than £5,500.

In the first case officers from the council visited 7, Filton Grove, Horfield after complaints from the tenant that the hot water tap in the bathroom was not working and the toilet did not work properly. The council told the landlord MB Estate Ltd to make the necessary repairs, and when the works were not done an Improvement Notice was served under the Housing Act 2004.

A visit in May 2016 identified that MB Estate Ltd had failed to carry out the works or respond to the council’s requests. The case was brought before the magistrates, and in their absence, the company was found guilty and fined £1,500, ordered to pay the council’s costs of £1,500 and a victim surcharge of £150.

In the second case the landlord, Munjit Singh Dulay, who is also the director of MB Estate Ltd was found guilty, again in his absence, for failing to carry out works to prevent damage to a neighbouring property.

In November 2015 officers from the council visited 185c to 187 Cheltenham Road after a complaint from a neighbour that there was severe penetrating dampness affecting their property.  An investigation found that a shower cubicle on the ground floor was leaking water that was soaking though the wall and causing the dampness.

Munjit Singh Dulay failed to cooperate resulting in a Legal Notice being served under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requiring works to be completed to abate a statutory nuisance.

In May 2016 the officers visited and found none of the works had been completed so the case was recommended for prosecution. 

Magistrates found Munjit Singh Dulay guilty in his absence and fined him £1,000, and ordered him to pay council’s costs of £1,623 and a victim surcharge of £100

Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities, said: “The failure of Munjit Singh Dulay and MB Estate Ltd to respond to these problems has led not only their own tenants to be affected by the poor conditions but also the neighbour, whose property has been damaged by their negligence.

“The disregard that has been shown in dealing with these serious issues was demonstrated in the lack of attendance at the court, and as a consequence he now has to pay a fine.

"We urge landlords to cooperate with our officers to avoid court cases and fines which are much more expensive than undertaking the improvements. The vast majority of landlords do this and working together we can improve housing conditions within the city."

MB Estate Ltd have now fixed the leaking shower and the council are considering repairing the hot water tap in default of the owner.

Tenants who are having difficulty getting their landlord to deal with problems in their homes can contact the private housing service by email private.housing@bristol.gov.uk or online at www.bristol.gov.uk/privatehousing