Tewkesbury Borough Council has successfully prosecuted a landlord for offences relating to the extremely poor conditions of his rented accommodation.
On 4 February 2019, Mr. Thomas Green of Mount Pleasant House in Tewkesbury, was found guilty of four offences relating to 1 Barton Terrace - a property he owns and landlords.
In March 2018, officers from the borough council's Environmental Health team received a complaint about the conditions in the nine-bedroom property.
Officers attended and found the property to be in a very poor state of repair and without a licence for multiple occupation. Many of the bedsits were cramped and without adequate heating. None of the bedsits had hot water available to the sinks. The only hot water available in the whole property was from one communal shower which cost fifty pence to use.
Conditions were so poor at the property that officers served Mr Green with one improvement notice and seven prohibition notices, which resulted in the tenants being unable to live at the property. The council was able to rehome all tenants who took up the offer of support in finding alternative accommodation.
Subsequent visits to the property in August revealed that Mr Green had not fully complied with the prohibition notices or the improvement notice.
Magistrates at Cheltenham Magistrates Court found Mr. Green guilty of the following offences:
Failing to license the premises as a House in Multiple Occupation under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions)(England) Regulations 2006
Offences under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 for failing to ensure adequate firefighting equipment and alarms, failing to inspect electrical installations, and failing to supply a supply of hot water to the premises
Failing to comply with the improvement notice under section 30 of the Housing Act 2004.
Failing to comply with three of the prohibition notices under section 32 of the Housing Act 2004
In sentencing, the Magistrates acknowledged Mr Green was now taking responsibility for the property, however were concerned about the extremely poor circumstances the tenants lived in.
Mr Green was fined a total of £6000 which was reduced to £4200 due to his early guilty plea. This equates to £600 per offence. He was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge and costs of £1500.
Tewkesbury Borough Council's Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment Cllr Jim Mason said: "It is deeply concerning that this landlord was happy to house tenants in his property when it was in such a poor condition. The result of this court case is clearly a very positive one, and I hope it will serve as a message to all landlords that as a council will take our role very seriously, and we will take legal action when necessary."
The council is reminding landlords and tenants that a new law, which came into force in October last year, introduced new legal requirements for landlords of shared houses and heavier penalties for failing to meet them.
Details of the new laws can be found on the council's website at www.tewkesbury.gov.uk/houses-in-multiple-occupation.