LANDLORD OF WOLLATON HALL DRIVE HMO FINED & FACES JAIL AFTER COURT HEARING
Under the headline 'Landlord threatened to wreck future careers of students who raised concerns over their homes' Rod Malcolm (Nottingham Post Friday 6 July 2018) wrote ...
... A landlord must pay nearly £35,000 and could face jail after scaring students in a city house and saying he would wreck their careers.
When tenants raised concerns over the property, Rehaan Rashid threatened to alert university heads and organise police raids, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
Nottingham City Council officers found the front door was a fire risk because it could only be opened with a key.
At one point the boiler broke and there was no water to flush toilets at the premises on Wollaton Hall Drive.
Recorder Roger Evans ordered Rashid to repay £4,420 rent to four students and £3,984 to another, telling him: "You made a year at university, which should have been a matter of pleasure, study and enjoyment, an utter misery.
"You let yourself down disgracefully."
He said people could have been trapped if they relied on the front door to escape from a fire - and had failed to pick up their keys in a panic. The recorder said: "Happily, no incident occurred."
He imposed a four-month prison term, suspended for two years on Rashid of Kilburn Close, Beeston.
He must also do 150 hours unpaid work, pay £10,000 costs and £3,210 in fines.
The recorder said he decided to order the rent to be repaid as compensation, describing the students as "vulnerable" because they would not be able to get free legal aid for civil court action against Rashid, 30.
Andrew Peet, prosecuting, told the court: "He failed in his obligations to ensure the property was safe to occupy.
"His behaviour towards the tenants has been seriously intimidating, threatening and it became aggressive. It was a dreadful experience for them. It had a serious effect on the wellbeing of his tenants."
Two female University of Nottingham students said it harmed their exam results and they moved out early, even though they had paid rent until the end of term. Another dropped out because of his conduct.
He told one he had contacted the university dean to complain of her behaviour.
And he told another that he had been in touch with the Law Society to ensure she would never have a career as a lawyer. His allegations and threats were "all lies," added Mr Peet.
The offences covered two academic years, ending in 2017. Rashid managed the house for his brother and listed his business as a taxi driver but was also involved in a car dealership, said Mr Peet.
"He presents himself as a man of straw but there were eye-watering amounts of money going into a bank," said Mr Peet. He produced figures to show the car dealership spent £555,000 at auctions.
Pau Greaney QC, mitigating, told the recorder: "His behaviour was very sadly unacceptable and disgraceful. But he was not a professional landlord.
"This is not a Rachman type of situation, a highly experienced and cynical landlord who deliberately exploits tenants.
"This was largely driven by ignorance," said Mr Greaney. He added that Rashid was suffering from stress at the time and had never been in trouble before.
Rashid pleaded guilty to harassment and breaches of the Housing Act. These included problems with the front door and windows. He was given three months to pay the total bill.