February 5, 2020 4.39 pm This story is over 19 months old

Rogue Lincoln landlords fined £17k for death-trap homes

There was a catalogue of dangerous faults with the properties

Two local landlords have been fined over £17,000 for letting out dangerous houses in Lincoln.

Vijya Paul Reddy Thumma and Baiju Varghese were responsible for 52 and 31 Ripon Street, off lower High Street, respectively, but both put their tenants at risk.

Thumma rents out 11 homes in the city and pleaded guilty to six offences after an inspection found six of seven of his fire alarms did not work.

None of the bedroom doors at 52 Ripon Street were the minimum “30-minute fire-resistant” kind and the kitchen fire door did not close automatically.

The rear kitchen door was not fitted with a keyless exit lock and was fitted with two slip bolts, which would reduce the ease of escape.

On inspection by the City of Lincoln Council, the toilet was blocked, filthy, stank and had no windows or any means of ventilation.

Thumma was fined £12,765.81 in total at the hearing on November 18, with a £5,000 reduction for his early guilty plea.

In passing sentence, the judge said Thumma had “put lives in danger” and that he had abused “vulnerable Romanian migrants, who did not have a clue how to defend themselves.”

The risk to tenants fell under category ‘A’ = Death.

Varghese, who manages 10 properties in the city, was fined £5,578 at a hearing on January 31, with a £2,000 reduction for his early guilty plea.

The judge said of both defendants that the financial statements they had provided were in his view works of fiction and that he was unable to sentence them on the basis of the low incomes.

Councillor Donald Nannestad, portfolio holder for quality housing at City of Lincoln Council, said: “These prosecutions send out a clear signal that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated in our city.

“I would like to thank the Legal and Private Housing teams at City of Lincoln Council for all of their hard work on this case and in ensuring such a significant outcome.

“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.

“Lincoln has a reputation as a city that is safe and welcoming for its residents and the council will continue to do everything it can to ensure all landlords are meeting the high standards that both we and the tenants expect.”

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