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A landlord has been fined £405,000 after he left his tenants to live in "appalling" conditions and with no fire safety protection.
Bijan Keshmiri, 59, from Lincoln, was handed the penalty by the city's magistrates after admitting 28 charges.
It is believed to be one of the biggest financial penalties ever handed out for an individual rogue landlord case in Britain.
Mr Keshmiri used the flats as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to accommodate twelve tenants in the building on Rosemary Lane and six at the property on Spa Buildings.
Cllr Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “This prosecution sends out a clear signal that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated in our city.
“It’s pleasing to see justice has been served against this offender who has, time and time again, exploited his tenants by making them live in appalling conditions, surrounded by many fire and health hazards.”
The court heard that the first building on Rosemary Lane, which was converted into four flats, had several breaches of fire safety requirements including broken smoke detectors, inappropriate locks on fire exits, poorly made repairs which could increase the spread of fire and lack of fire separation and protection between flats.
There were several instances of windows with low sills having broken latches or no opening restrictors on the top floor flats, causing ventilation to be uncontrolled and a risk of an occupant falling from a window.
There was no emergency lighting in communal areas or the stairwell, and the standard lighting throughout the ground, first and second floor staircases and landings did not work when tested, which when combined with the lack of secondary lighting, exposed the occupants to a serious risk of injury.
The second property on Spa Buildings had doors sealed shut preventing fire exits and a lack of fire separation, no smoke alarms in the ground floor flat and no fire blanket in the kitchen.
Cllr Donald Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Quality Housing at City of Lincoln Council, said: “We take the safety of our residents very seriously, and this court ruling shows that there’s no place to hide for rogue landlords in Lincoln.”
Upon sentencing, magistrates made the following comment:
“Mr Keshmiri, we are concerned that you have owned these properties for several years and they are a fire hazard.
“Given your history, your portfolio of properties and the length of time that you have managed them, this is of the utmost seriousness.
“The offences were so serious that the fine should act as a deterrent to other rogue landlords.”
15 January 2021