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Landlord Fined for Dangerous Property

A landlord has been fined £1,000 after Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council took action to prevent a family from living in dangerous conditions.

The family ­- including a disabled child - were helped to find alternative accommodation after housing  officers warned the owner that conditions were so poor the tenants’ lives were in danger.

Officers described the conditions at the terraced house in Lily Street, Wolstanton, as amongst the worst they had ever come across.

There was no gas safety certificate, the electrical wiring was dangerous, the roof leaked, there was no heating upstairs and there was extensive damp and mould in the bedrooms.

Problems came to light after a fire in the property in early June 2016. Firefighters who went to the blaze were concerned about living conditions in the house and reported it to the Borough Council.

Following an inspection of the property, the Council immediately began enforcement action, ordering improvements to be made. When no improvements had been made by mid-July, an Improvement Notice under the Housing Act 2004 was served. But the landlord continued to ignore the problem and no repairs were carried out.

The landlord was found guilty at Newcastle Magistrates Court of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice under the Housing Act. A fine of £1,000, including costs, was imposed and the landlord was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge.

Housing Standards Officer Maureen Fraser, who carried out the inspections and took the enforcement action, said: “This was a shocking case – made all the more serious because a disabled child was having to live in these conditions – and the landlord just ignored all requests to make improvements. I believe that the family had been living in dangerous conditions for around nine years.

“We estimate that they will have paid more than £40,000 in rent and little work had been done in all that time.”

Cllr. Kyle Robinson, Cabinet member for planning and housing, said: “This is the first time that we have taken court action over failure to comply with an Improvement Notice and we hope this case serves as a warning to others who own and let out sub-standard properties.

“I’d also like to thank Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service for immediately alerting the Council to the awful conditions that this family were suffering.”