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Restaurant fined £10,000 over ‘illegal accommodation’

Owners of a Bolton restaurant have been fined £10,000 over “illegal and unsafe” accommodation, Bolton Council has said. 

The accommodation was discovered above India Gate during a multi-agency inspection back in December. 

Appearing at Bolton magistrates’ court last week, owner of the Indian restaurant, Heron Ali, admitted to not owning a HMO licence, the legal requirement for managing a property with more than five occupants.

Bolton Council said Ali had “originally told inspectors that only one tenant lived upstairs, meaning he did not need to comply with the relevant legislation.”

The inspection team, comprised of Bolton Council officers, Greater Manchester Police and Immigration Enforcement, found evidence that five people were living in “unsafe” and illegal conditions above the restaurant.  

Ali admitted a further 16 housing offences at an earlier court appearance in August, including  “inadequate fire safety measures, disrepair and bedrooms padlocked from the outside”.

Nazmul Hussain, his business partner at Chan Restaurant, pleaded guilty to the same 16 offences during the August hearing. 

Magistrates ordered Ali to pay a fine of £2,620, alongside £500 in costs and a £180 victim surcharge. Hussain was handed £1,500 in fines, £300 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge. Chan Restaurant Ltd was ordered a £6,000 fine, £835.61 costs and a £180 victim surcharge.

The inspection formed part of Bolton Council’s Rogue Landlord Project and their efforts to crackdown on rogue landlords and illegal accommodation. 

Adele Warren, an executive cabinet member of Bolton Council, said: “This was a shocking example of tenants living in unsuitable and dangerous conditions. Together with our partners in the police and other agencies, we have sent a clear message that nobody is above the law when it comes to housing standards.

“Everyone has the right to a safe place to live, and through our Rogue Landlord Project we will continue to hold reckless and exploitative landlords to account.”

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