Judith Wilson, 68, failed to fix a disabled tenant’s hot water for five months
Ashford Borough Council served her a notice after ex-tenants complained
She was found guilty of failing to comply with an enforcement notice at a court
Wilson was fined £10,000 and she was ordered to pay costs of almost £15,000
A millionaire landlord has been ordered to pay £25,000 after she disobeyed a notice to to fix a disabled tenant’s hot water for five months.
Judith Wilson, 68, wife of Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlord, Fergus Wilson, 70, was served a notice by Ashford Borough Council.
The notice was served after one of Wilson’s ex-tenants, one of whom is wheelchair bound, alleged a boiler which supplied hot water to the upstairs of their property was faulty over a five-month period.
Mrs Wilson was found guilty of failing to comply with an enforcement notice ordering her to supply hot water to a disabled tenant at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on November 7.
Today Wilson was fined £10,000 and told to pay costs of almost £15,000 for failing to comply with an enforcement notice.
She was ordered to reveal her wealth to a court as a judge has the power to sentence her with an unlimited fine.
Today she was sentenced at the same court by District Judge Justin Barron and given eight weeks to pay.
Wheelchair user Mark Manser and partner Sarah Manser, complained about Wilson.
At the earlier hearing Ben Leb, defending, said Mr and Mrs Manser had denied Mrs Wilson access to the property in Kingsnorth and had damaged the water system which caused the home to flood.
But prosecutor Sophie Gray said Wilson had ‘fabricated’ stories that she made attempts to restore the boiler, and showed ‘clear disregard’ for the couple.
Judge Barron then ruled Wilson would suffer a ‘punitive fine’ and said Wilson’s husband, who deals with complaints, failed to assist the council with the enforcement order.
Jude Barron said: ‘I find the reason hot water wasn’t fixed was because Mr and Mrs Wilson did not address the problem.
‘Mr Wilson and Mrs Wilson had every opportunity to resolve the issues but Mr Wilson was consistently difficult and stubbornly refused to make any genuine commitment to the council to get the work carried out.
‘As a consequence of my findings my decision is that Mrs Wilson failed to comply with the requirements of the abatement notice, and did not have a reasonable excuse for that failure.’
The couple were previously among the UK’s largest housing investors but say they have started to sell up their Kent housing empire because of their age.
In a statement outside court in November following the verdict Mr Wilson said the ruling will ‘accelerate the rate’ tenants are evicted as the couple look to sell up their housing empire.
He added tenants will not be served a notice to quit until after Christmas.
Mr Wilson said: ‘Let’s see what happens with the fine, but it means we will be selling more properties.
‘We were selling up anyway because of our age – I could drop dead tomorrow.
‘We won’t be giving people notice to quit over the Christmas period and to be honest we would sell the whole lot tomorrow if we could.
‘We won’t put all the homes on the market at once because that would mean house prices will drop.’
Today a council spokesman added: ‘This successful prosecution shows that we have teeth and we are not afraid to fight for the rights of tenants.
‘What a lot of private sector tenants don’t realise is that if they have trouble with their landlord they can come to us for help.
‘Ashford Borough Council champions the rights of tenants and we make sure that landlords remain accountable and live up to their responsibilities under the law. If they don’t then there are consequences.
‘In this case we did everything we could to resolve the situation.
‘We gave Mrs Wilson every opportunity to find a solution to the problem but we were ignored.
‘In the end, we realised that the only way to get justice for the tenants involved was to prosecute.’
The case comes after Mr Wilson, who is believed to own more than 400 homes across the south of England, said ramping up rent payments on hundreds of homes within an hour of the Bank of England’s 0.25 per cent interest rate rise.
He was once hauled before the courts for banning ‘coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy’ – and barred single parents claiming it was too hard to evict them.