One landlord from Kent has been ordered to pay £12,000 by Medway Magistrates Court after ignoring demands made by the local council to improve the standards of three of his rental properties, all of which were inhabited by tenants.
“Considerable Levels of Damp in Every Room”
The £12,000 fine, which compromised of an £8,300 direct fine and £3,780 in costs, was served by Medway Magistrates Court after the landlord had ignored improvement orders for two lettings properties. The fine also related to a third property owned by the landlord, where despite being served with a prohibition order back in May forbidding anyone to inhabit the property, the landlord continued to rent out the premises and allow people to live there.
The property was said to be in an “awful” state and had considerable levels of damp in every room when the council made an inspection two months later, finding new tenants residing there.
The landlord, Mr Robert Emery of Higham in Kent pleaded guilty to all three offences but did not make an appearance at court. Representatives from letting agent Hilton Taylor were in court on his behalf.
Local Councillor Matthew Bennett was happy with the conclusion of the trial, noting that: The conditions the people in this illegal HMO were living in were truly appalling, and represented a genuine danger to life and limb.”
Mr Emery was first warned about the state of his properties back in June 2013, with formal notifications from the council following shortly after.
Government Funding to Tackle Rogue Landlords
The court case marked a significant step for the council’s Private Sector Housing Team who specifically secured government funding to tackle rogue landlords such as Mr Emery.
It is hoped that now Mr Emery has been found guilty by the court that it will send out a message to other landlords in the area who are currently ignoring the advice of local government and renting their houses while they are in a state of disrepair.
Of course, as well as sending out a strong message about how unaccepting the council is of landlords housing tenants in sub-standard accommodation, the council are keen to point out that it remains their wish to work positively and co-operatively with all landlords, helping them run their businesses.
As a result, it is only in the small minority of cases that those who don’t comply will be followed up and if necessary, they will be prosecuted.