Landlord fined £29k for putting tenants’ lives ‘at risk’

Dangerous electrical mains installation, ‘defective’ sanitary fitments in both the bathroom and kitchen, and a ‘lack of automatic fire detection’, were among just some of the issues uncovered during an inspection of a rental home in Derby that led to the property’s owner being fined just over £29,000.

Buy-to-let landlord Adrian Ernest Dart was described by the prosecution as an ‘absentee landlord’, after an inspection in September 2016 by Derby City Council’s housing standards team found that his property in the city had ‘serious defects’ that put tenants’ lives ‘at risk’.

The council’s housing standards team said that the Normanton house was in the kind of disrepair that would allow fire to spread quickly.

Other dangers identified by inspectors included trip hazards, mould and the potential for structural collapse.

The house was said to be in ‘such a state of disrepair’ that the council ‘felt it necessary to carry out urgent repairs’. An improvement notice was issued ‘but not acknowledged’, with the council spending £8,030 on remedial work that ‘remains as a charge on the property until the debt is paid in full’.

At Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court, Dart pleaded guilty to a charge of non compliance with an improvement notice, served under the Housing Act 2004, and was fined £6,500.

Additionally, he was ordered to make a contribution of £2,436 to the council’s prosecution costs, and to pay a victim surcharge of £170, and ‘due to the seriousness of the case’ alongside his ‘lack of engagement’ with the council’s team, an additional fine of £20,000 was added, for a total of £29,106.

This meant that his fine was the ‘largest fine ever given out for a housing offence in Derby’, with the city council aiming for this to ‘act as a warning to other landlords’.

Cllr Fareed Hussain, cabinet member for housing and urban renewal, commented: “The council’s housing standards team is dedicated to improving living standards for private tenants in Derby and ensuring their safety and well-being is a top priority.

“We are pleased to have achieve this result and hope it serves as a reminder to all landlords to provide suitable accommodation for their tenants.”

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Landlord ordered to pay more than £20k

A buy-to-let landlord has been convicted of nine counts of breaching regulations for a house in multiple occupation (HMO) that he owned in Colchester and ordered to pay in excess of £20,000.

Poor heating and mould in the four-bedroom property were among the issues flagged up by the disgruntled tenant as he issued a complaint to Colchester Council in December 2015.

Thomas supplied portable heaters to his tenants because of ongoing problems with gas central heating, but they were not deemed sufficient to keep the property warm.

Other offences related to fire doors not been gaped, missing lightbulbs, ventilation in an ensuite shower room giving the potential for mould, failure to ensure fixtures and fittings were in good repair, not replacing a kitchen bin, inadequate waste storage facilities outside, and tenants being left without electricity over a weekend when the electrical fuse box tripped,

Cyril Thomas, director of Platinum Crown Investment Ltd, denied the charges brought against him relating to 134a Hythe Hill, but Colchester Magistrates’ Court ruled against the landlord and fined him £1,000 for each offence plus a £100 victim surcharge, with prosecution costs making up the rest of the money owed.

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