Harrogate Borough Council prosecutes private landlord for failure to protect tenants

Posted on: April 8, 2015
Categories General News
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A private landlord has been ordered to pay £4,265.50 in fines and costs after failing to carry out repairs to his tenant’s home in Plumpton, near Knaresborough.
On Wednesday 25 March 2015, John Alton appeared at Harrogate Magistrates Court and was found guilty of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice contrary to section 30 of the Housing Act 2004.
Following a complaint by the property’s tenants in November 2013, Environmental Health Officers from Harrogate Borough Council’s Housing service inspected the property which had begun to fall into serious disrepair. The property was found to have a number of defects which required urgent attention.
Following unsuccessful negotiations, Mr Alton was served with a formal Improvement Notice which outlined the work which needed to be undertaken and gave him until the 1 December 2014 to complete the work: However, after failing to comply with the original notice and two time extensions, legal action was launched by Harrogate Borough Council against Mr Alton.
Mr Alton pleading guilty to a charge of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice which had instructed him to rectify a number of issues including a lack of controllable heating (the home had two coal fires downstairs and no heating upstairs); loft insulation being below building regulations standard; no cavity wall insulation; draughty and broken doors and windows; defective roof and gutters resulting in severe damp which had damaged plaster and rotted roof timbers; kitchen cupboards and worktops in a dilapidated state; old faulty electrical wiring; septic tank having no effective land drainage outlet resulting in drains overflowing; and exposed water supply pipe not being insulated and running over ground across the garden.
Mr Alton was fined £2,700 with costs of £1,445.50, and a victim surcharge of £120 making a total of £4,265.50.

Madeleine Bell, Head of Housing at Harrogate Borough Council said: “It is unacceptable that tenants should live in such conditions. Private landlords have a duty to ensure that their properties are kept in an acceptable condition. In this instance this was clearly not the case.

The issues discovered by Harrogate Borough Council could have had a serious impact on the health of the tenants, and despite being served with an Improvement Notice, the owner failed to make the required repairs. As such we had no alternative but to prosecute Mr Alton. Private landlords must act appropriately and we will do all that we can to ensure that anyone who does not take their responsibilities seriously is made to face the consequences of their lack of action. The previous £5,000 fine cap for such offenses has recently been removed meaning that those found guilty can face an unlimited maximum fine.”


Source: Harrogate Informer

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