Rogue landlords prosecuted

Wednesday 06-05-2015 - 12:28
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Update from the Student Advice Centre

On 13th April 2015 justice was finally served to two local landlords who were prosecuted by Health and Safety Executive for carrying out unsafe building works, which had led to the collapse of a whole building in April 2012. The building was occupied by up to 20 international Sheffield University students. One student was trapped in the building when it collapsed, though as the Judge in the case said, "It was little short of a miracle that more people were not seriously injured or killed".

The Judge also said that this was a very serious incident "caused by your arrogance and greed" and that their actions were "blatant and financially motivated breaches" of health and safety standards, which fell "woefully short of the required standard" The landlords also then did their best to avoid prosecution and hence the long two year legal case. The landlords were sentenced as follows; Rizwan Hussain got a 12 months custodial sentence and £42,000 fine and £40,000 costs. His brother Naveed Hussain also got a 12 months custodial sentence, £40,000 fine and £60,000 costs.

At the time of the incident, the Student Advice Centre, here at Sheffield Students’ Union advised and supported a group of 20 international students who were affected by the dramatic and life threatening building collapse at Brookhill. Advisers helped them to find alternative housing, seek financial support and have continued to work closely with The Health and Safety Executive to help ensure that a successful prosecution could be brought. Sheffield University also provided emergency alternative accommodation and financial support to the students who were affected. One group of students lost all of their personal belongings in the collapse. Advisers are still working with the former students and will be helping them seek compensation, following the successful prosecution.

These particular landlords were well known to the housing advisers at the Student Advice Centre and there had been concerns about the property and management standards prior to this event. Of course, this is an extreme example of ‘rogue’ landlord behaviour and pretty rare in the Sheffield student rented market. However we would urge all our current students to make sure you know your housing rights and find out more about your prospective landlord and their responsibilities. To do this we would urge all students to make use of the Contract Checking service offered by the Student Advice Centre, the experienced advisers will know if there have been any serious issues with the landlord and can help you with any housing related issue. Contact advice@sheffield.ac.uk.

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