A Camborne landlord whose negligence placed his tenants at "serious risk of harm" has been ordered to pay almost £3,000 in fines and costs by magistrates.

Cornwall Council’s private sector housing team brought the prosecution against Russel Pomeroy, of Wheal Agar, Pool, for several housing offences relating to his property at 15 Basset Road in Camborne. A council inspection last year revealed that the property was not being managed adequately, placing the residents at serious risk of harm.

At the time of the inspection, the fire alarm system was in a state of disrepair and smoke detectors were missing from four rooms. A condition of the house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence was that safe, fixed, controllable heating must be provided but there was no fixed form of heating in any of the rooms with the tenants having to use portable heaters. In addition, some of the rooms were suffering from extensive mould growth.

Pomeroy entered two guilty pleas to charges that he failed to comply with the requirements of his mandatory HMO licence conditions, and six breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 when he appeared before magistrates in Truro. He was fined a total of £1,386 for the offences, and ordered to pay £1,345 towards the prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £138.

Stuart Kenney, principal environmental health officer from the council’s private sector housing team, said: “The council has taken similar prosecution cases in the recent past involving serious disrepair, hazards and substandard management practices and offenders have been ordered by the courts to pay fines in excess of £20,000 which serves to be a significant punishment that ensures that it is not cheaper to offend than comply.

"New laws came into force on the 6th April which will help Cornwall Council to crack down on the minority of rogue landlords who continue to shirk their legal responsibilities and place tenants at risk of harm. One of the main changes is that the council can now issue penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for a range of housing offences, which will act as a strong deterrent and significant punishment for placing the lives of tenants at risk.”

Landlords and property agents are encouraged to join the council’s responsible landlords scheme to stay up to date with changes in the law and any associated policy changes. Information about the scheme can be found at cornwall.gov.uk/responsiblelandlord.