Council Wins Case Against Landlord who Ignored Improvement Notices
Council Wins Case Against Landlord
A landlord who ignored official notices to make essential improvements to his property has been handed fines and costs totalling nearly £3,000. Peter Steel of High Street, Little Sandhurst, was convicted of breaching two improvement notices issued by the Council, in his absence at Reading Magistrates Court.
The Court heard that a member of the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team visited the two-bedroom flat in Hardwick Road, Tilehurst, let by Mr Steel on 28th November 2016.
They found that the radiators in the living room and the kitchen were falling off their fittings; the living room window did not shut properly which created a security risk; a light switch was hanging off the wall in one bedroom and the property was generally in a poor state of repair.
An initial letter to Mr Steel with a schedule of works received no response and a follow-up letter was also ignored. The tenant then contacted the Council in January 2017 to say there was no hot water to the kitchen taps. A further visit found the issues previously identified were still outstanding and confirmed there was no hot water to the kitchen taps.
Private Sector Housing Team
Mr Steel then contacted the Private Sector Housing Team to say the work would be carried out but a subsequent visit found that no action had been taken. Numerous further attempts to contact Mr Steel were unsuccessful.
The Council issued an Improvement Notice in respect of section 11 and section 12 of the Housing Act 2004 in June 2017 with a deadline of 12th August 2017 for carrying out the required works, but a further visit found none of the work had been undertaken.
At a hearing on 19th October 2018, Reading Magistrates found Mr Steel guilty of two offences; breach of improvement notice under section 11 and breach of improvement notice under section 12.
Mr Steel was fined £500 per offence and was ordered to pay £1,941 legal costs and £50 victim surcharge, totalling £2,991.
Cllr John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Housing, said:
“The landlord in this case was given ample opportunity to repair the faults in his property but failed to take any action. Meanwhile, his tenant was living in poor, unsafe conditions and without hot water in the kitchen. It is unacceptable for landlords to let their properties fall into these levels of disrepair and I am pleased the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team are there to fight on behalf of tenants in these situations.”