The first disqualification order by a Scottish Court has been granted against a Fife private landlord.
Landlord Mohammed Murtaza, 47, from Kirkcaldy, has been convicted after continuing as a landlord after his registration was refused. He was found guilty of breaching the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004, and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. This led to him being fined a total of £500, as well as being banned from acting as a private landlord for a further 12 months.
Commenting on the case, Sheriff Gilchrist described the offence as a ‘flagrant breach of legislation.’
However, this was not Murtaza’s first conviction. He had previously previously been convicted at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court in November 2014 due to his failure to comply with his private landlord duties under the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004. He was also in breach of Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. Murtaza was handed six convictions for the incidents as well as being forced to pay fines amounting to £540.
As a result of the convictions the rogue landlord issued with a disqualification order, and was refused entry onto Fife’s landlord register in June 2015. This rendered it a criminal offence for him to rent out any residential property in Fife, a ruling he flouted by continuing to act as a private landlord.
Following the outcome of the case, Fife Council’s head of housing, John Mills, said: ‘A significant proportion of private landlords are of good character and comply with the law, however, there are some who act unlawfully. The outcome of this particular case sends a clear message to private landlords in Fife that the council will continue to take all appropriate action to protect tenants and improve property standards in the private sector.’