Re-offending landlord convicted for shocking housing conditions

A Sheffield landlord has been prosecuted for placing tenants at serious risk of harm following an investigation into his properties.

Nilendu Das was convicted earlier this week at Sheffield’s Magistrate Court for numerous housing offences across his three properties on Sackville Road, Cemetery Avenue and Neill Road. He has been ordered to pay over £7,000 in court costs and fines.

He was also found to have committed health and safety offences at his restaurant, the Varanasi Inn on Sandygate Road. This included a failure to acknowledge a notice which required him to obtain a gas safety certificate. For this he was sentenced to a 12 month Community Order requiring him to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

He has pleaded guilty to six offences in total following inspections of his properties. These confirmed a high level of mismanagement and Das’ breaching of the Housing Act 2004.

Councillor Paul Wood, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, has said: “Mr Das shows a blatant disregard for the law and in doing so, puts the lives of tenants at risk”.

“We had given him very reasonable time scales to complete work but these have been ignored, leaving us no other choice than to pursue action through the courts”.

Between December 2018 and March 2020, an investigation launched by Private Housing Standards Officers found that Das’ houses suffered from inadequate fire detection and heating, damaged fire doors, serious damp, unsafe electrics and rat infestations. 

One property in particular was found in such a serious state of neglect that a prohibition order was served, declaring it an unsafe and unfit place to live in. However this was ignored by Das who continued to allow tenants to live there.

He has previously been convicted three times for harassing his tenants back in 2012, 2013 and 2017. The latter included a case where Das had written into his tenancy agreement that complainants would be charged £350.

Over 400 disrepair complaints are investigated each year by the Private Housing Standards team. In some serious cases, landlords can be fined up to £30,000 for certain offences.

Written by Marina Vieira-Coen

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