During the last two decades a Banbury-based landlord has shown exactly how not to do things, after receiving a record fine for racking-up 54 HMO offences.
Breaches that included a collapsing ceiling, filthy facilities, and an abandoned car to name but a few were revealed by Cherwell council’s housing team during unannounced inspections.
Resulting in the £20,000 bill for the legislation and health and safety-averse landlord.
The landlord, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has a history of non-compliance with housing law and the council says they could face a banning order if they reoffend.
“This is the highest financial penalty we have ever imposed on a landlord,” said John Donaldson, Cherwell's lead councillor for housing. “It is not a decision we have taken lightly, and indeed it is quite extraordinary that officers found 54 breaches at just two properties.
“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.”
He added “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 deficiencies and offences by the council were considered “detrimental to the quality of life for both the occupants and neighbours.”
The two properties were suffering from overgrown ovens, with blocked drains and unsightly accumulations of household and construction waste.
While at one of the properties a car was left unattended for four years, despite constant calls to get it moved. 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 fine following a considerable investigation and appeals process. Cherwell council took the action for offences under the Housing Act 2004.