Rogue landlord fined £20,000
“This is the highest financial penalty we have ever imposed on a landlord”
A collapsing ceiling, filthy facilities, and an abandoned car are amongst the dangerous defects that have seen a Banbury landlord receive financial penalties totalling £20,000. This is the highest financial penalty ever imposed on a landlord by Cherwell District Council.
Cherwell’s Housing Standards team discovered dozens of breaches when they made unannounced inspections at two houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) last year. The landlord, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has a history of non-compliance with housing law and is now being added to the rogue landlord database. They could face a banning order if they reoffend.
Council officers discovered wide-ranging deficiencies which were detrimental to the quality of life for both the occupants and neighbours. The gardens of both the properties were overgrown with blocked drains and unsightly accumulations of household and construction waste.
At one of the properties a car was left unattended for four years in the face of repeated requests to remove it. Inside, a poorly designed shower was causing the windowsill to rot and ceiling below to collapse. At the other house, broken windows and defective fire doors were found.
The landlord has agreed to pay the penalties following a lengthy investigation and appeals process.
Cllr John Donaldson, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said: “This is the highest financial penalty we have ever imposed on a landlord. It is not a decision we have taken lightly, and indeed it is quite extraordinary that officers found 54 breaches at just two properties”.
Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, councils can issue rogue landlords with fines as an alternative to prosecution in appropriate cases. Since Cherwell adopted this approach in 2018, over £43,000 worth of penalties have been levied. The money goes straight back into the council’s housing enforcement budget, to help protect and improve the living conditions of other local residents.
Cllr John Donaldson said: “Over the last 20 years we have tried many informal and formal ways of trying to get this individual to bring their properties up to scratch. The sheer number of officer hours devoted to this is a big part of why the penalties now meted out have to be this severe.
“HMO management regulations impose strict duties upon landlords to keep their properties clean, safe and in good repair. While the vast majority of landlords are meeting those obligations, this is a very firm warning to any other rogue landlords out there that cutting corners will end up costing them in the end.”
The previous highest financial penalty imposed on a landlord by Cherwell was £8,000.
Anyone who is concerned about the condition of their rented home should contact the council on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01295 227004.
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam