A "rogue" Watford landlord has been convicted for leaving his tenants in danger of fire.

Zakaria Rmiki, 48, who rented a house to eight people in Granville Road, was fined more than £7,000 after being found guilty of failing to make the property safe for his tenants.

Watford Borough Council’s Officers visited the house earlier this year and found it had none of the required fire safety measures in place.

Despite Rmiki denying to officers that the property was being used as an House in Multiple Occupation and saying that there were three brothers living there, they went on to find eight pieces of post addressed to various people shoved up the chimney flue, multiple mattresses in one room and lots of female belongings throughout the property.

This was not the first time that officers believed Rmiki had staged the property and primed tenants to try and deceive the council.

This was all an attempt to prevent the need for him to provide safe accommodation despite taking thousands of pounds per month in rent.

Officers had previously worked with Rmiki to improve another property he owns.

Despite this and being given ample opportunity to make the necessary improvements he had still failed to do so before being served with an Improvement Notice by the council.

Rmiki, of Mauleverer Road, Brixton Hill, then failed to complete the works in the notice within the times specified and so despite the house only being let to one person at the time of the re-inspection the council chose to prosecute as the officer had no confidence the property would not go straight back into HMO use.

Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said: “The safety and wellbeing of residents is our priority and we will take whatever action necessary to secure this.

"Most of Watford’s landlords do a fantastic job and these rogues should not be allowed to undercut them and put lives at risk.

"This landlord was clearly out to deceive the council and make money at vulnerable people’s expense, we will not tolerate this.

“We tried to work with Zakaria Rmiki in order to help him make the improvements needed and avoid bringing this to court.

WUnfortunately his continued avoidance of the council and failure to do the works left us with no option but to prosecute.”

Appearing in Stevenage Magistrate Court earlier this week, Rmiki was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine of £2,500 and £5,250 towards costs.