A pair of Devon landlords have been fined over £6,000 and ordered to pay costs after being prosecuted over repeated failures to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of their tenants in Newquay.
On January 2014 at Truro Magistrates Court, Cornwall Council’s private sector housing team successfully prosecuted landlords Michelle Rachel Bathe and Stacey Darren Bathe of The Old Stable, Barns Hill Court, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Crediton, Devon EX17 4HX for failing to comply with the requirements of the Housing Act 2004 and the duties imposed under the House in Multiple Occupation Management Regulations 2006 in respect of their property at 11 Trebarwith Crescent in Newquay.
An unannounced inspection of the property was carried out on May 8, following a report from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service that it appeared that the fire alarm at the building was not working.
The council says that numerous breaches of House in Multiple Occupation Management Regulations were identified and Mr and Mrs Bathe were informed of these breaches in writing but failed, over a significant period of time, to carry out the necessary works to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of their tenants.
The works identified as necessary ranged from the submission of a valid gas and electrical safety certificates to failing to maintain fire precautions. There was also general disrepair of the property and of the communal areas and garden.
The defendants did not attend the hearing and the case was heard and proved in their absence.
The Court fined the defendants a total of £6,000 (£3,000 each) and a victim surcharge of £120.
Costs of £1,873.52 were awarded to Cornwall Council.
A council spokesman said; "The council wants to help tenants get a better deal in Cornwall. Key to this is improving property standards in the private rented sector, identifying rogue landlords and taking steps to drive them out of Cornwall. The council’s private sector housing team are focusing now on how to achieve this by putting into place the right mix of advice, assistance and regulation.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities, Geoff Brown, said: "Cornwall Council values the contribution made by well-managed houses in multiple occupation within the local housing market but will continue to intervene in these types of property to ensure minimum standards are maintained.
"As indicated by this case there are landlords who flout the law by failing to ensure their properties are safe. Other Cornwall landlords who operate in this way can rest assured that in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of tenants in private rented accommodation, the private sector housing team will not hesitate to take action against irresponsible landlords.’