Keynsham restaurateur fined £4,000 for housing staff in poor unlicensed accommodation

bat law courtsA Keynsham restaurateur has been fined £4,000 by magistrates for the poor state of staff accommodation above the premises.

Motiour Rahman, of Cinnamon in High Street, was not at Bath Magistrates’ Court for today’s hearing but submitted guilty pleas to the two charges he was facing.

He failed to apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence and also failed to comply with management regulation.  An inspection by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s housing services in February of this year found the property to be in poor condition and operating without a HMO licence. Mr Rahman had previously been advised back in 2009 of his responsibility to apply for a licence.

B&NES prosecutor Rebecca Jones said that in February of this year inspectors found the accommodation above the Indian restaurant to be in a poor state with too many people living in cramped conditions.  Nine single beds were seen, plus a fold-up camp bed, and there were lots of personal belongings.  A bathroom cleaning rota had nine names on it.

She also said there had been issues with illegal immigrants and the UK Border Agency had visited Cinnamon “on a number of occasions”.

The court heard there had still been no application for an HMO although planning application to improve the accommodation had been submitted.

A solicitor’s letter was read out in court saying that Mr Rahman’s command of English was poor and blaming a lack of understanding of the English legal system for the offences.

Magistrates fined Mr Rahman £2,000 for each offence with prosecution costs of £500.

Meanwhile a Mangotsfield man has admitted failing to apply for a licence for an HMO above a Bath takeaway and failing to comply with management regulations.

Father-of-two Alvin Uloli, 38, of Arnold Road, who managed the Oriental Express takeaway in Lansdown Road, was fined £4,000 by Bath magistrates for not having a licence for shared accommodation above the premises, and £3,000 for failing to manage the property.  He was also ordered to pay B&NES Council £500 for the cost of bringing the prosecution.

The court heard that hazards at the property, where some of the residents were Mr Uloli’s relations, included items blocking the means of escape, broken window panes and damp and mould; the central heating was not working and fire extinguishers were out of date. At least six beds showed signs of being occupied.

Defending Mr Uloli, Jon Palmer said that there were “language difficulties” and Mr Uloli had not fully understood what was expected of him by the council. However, he had employed a builder to do improvement works and a licence for an HMO was now pending.

Mr Palmer said Mr Uloli suffered health problems and the stress of running the business and dealing with the authorities had taken its toll and he was now semi-retired.