Slough landlord fined for housing failures 

A landlord must pay £24,000 for failing to comply with an Improvement Notice issued to him. 

Landlord Lakhbir Singh Rakhra was reported to the council’s housing regulation team by his tenant in 2021. The single parent of four children had lived with no heating in the Rochford Gardens property since 2016 and had made numerous complaints to the landlord, however he had failed to address the hazards in her home.  

Following an inspection of the property, the council wrote to Mr Rakhra asking him to complete repair works within the property, however he failed to undertake those works.

He was then issued with an Improvement Notice in May 2022, which required him to complete repairs and install appropriate heating by July 2022, or face a fine. 

He failed to comply and was issued with a £25,000 fine by the council in February 2023, as the failure was an offence under the Housing Act 2004. The heating was only fixed in October 2022. 

The landlord appealed against the financial penalty to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), claiming the tenant had obstructed him from carrying out the works. 

However, following a hearing in March this year, where the tenant gave evidence in support of the council’s case, the Tribunal made the decision on 17 June that Mr Rakhra had committed an offence and upheld the financial penalty, minus £1,000 to account for wear and tear.

The Tribunal stated: “It is a substantial penalty, but the offence was serious. In effect the Appellant was failing to comply with essential repairs which he ought to have carried out anyway before he was served with the notice. He then failed to comply with the notice itself. 

“If he was really being obstructed by his tenant, he could have sought injunctive relief in the County Court. He didn’t do this which supports the fact that there was not really a problem. He is clearly an experienced landlord who should know better.”

Niki Bhogal, Housing Regulation Officer, who gave evidence at the tribunal, said: “This case should never have come to tribunal. The landlord should have been fulfilling his duties, acting on the concerns of his tenant and putting right the issues identified. 

“We hope this will serve as a warning to other landlords to take their responsibilities seriously and ensure their tenants have a safe and fully functioning home.” 

Any application from the landlord for permission to appeal must be submitted by 19 July. 

Published: 1 July 2024