A rogue landlord was fined more than £12,700 for housing offences including subdividing two rooms into tiny living spaces of less than 4.5 square metres each.

Cornwall Council issued the fine to the owner of a property in River Street who did not meet fire safety or room size requirements and failed to address a host of other problems.

A council spokesperson said: "Cornwall Council is committed to protecting residents, supporting good and improving landlords and taking a robust stance against criminal landlords."

The council issued the fine earlier this year, but the landlord decided to appeal it to the First Tier Property Tribunal.

Falmouth Packet:

The tribunal has now published its decision upholding the council's action and so the fine of £12,729.3 stands.

Cornwall Council's Private Sector Housing Team first inspected 14 River Street in December 2017 and identified several problems including:

• no fire detection system, a lack of fire doors and a lack of fire safety management

• two rooms sub-divided into small, undersized living spaces measuring less than 4.5 square metres

• a lack of fire separation between the shop areas on the ground floor and the living accommodation

• defective and boarded up windows

• electrical safety deficiencies

Falmouth Packet:

The Council served enforcement notices to require an improvement to the premises but the notices were not fully complied with in the required time scale, which is a criminal offence.

Since 2017 local authorities have had powers to issue Civil Penalty Notices for some housing offences. Cornwall Council has so far caught up with nine rogue landlords fining them a total of £104,586 for renting out unsafe accommodation and placing the health and safety of residents at risk.

This action also serves as a strong deterrent to other rogue landlords.

All landlords are invited to join the Councils free ‘Responsible Landlords Scheme’ by visiting the Councils website, www.cornwall.gov.uk and searching ‘responsible landlord’. The scheme aims to provide advice and information to all landlords to assist with minimum housing standards and legal compliance.