Landlord loses appeal over dangerous student accommodation
Tuesday 14th August 2012
A property company which let out dangerous accommodation to students has been hit with a £13,500 bill after it lost an appeal against earlier convictions.
The landlord, JL Homes, was prosecuted last October by Portsmouth City Council.
Following complaints by student tenants, a council inspection found one bedroom and three bedsit rooms were too small, the cooking facilities were sub-standard (see picture), and the three bedsits and cooking facilities could only be reached by an outside metal staircase.
Two prohibition orders were served, closing a small bedroom on the first floor and the whole of the second floor until works had been completed.
These included removing kitchen facilities and either converting the second floor of the property into a self-contained flat or installing an internal staircase.
But JL Homes Ltd re-let the property to five students while the prohibition orders were still in place. Upon further inspection, Portsmouth Council identified that no works had been carried out to comply with the orders.
A copy of the tenancy agreement was also requested but was not supplied to the council.
At magistrates court, the company, of Victoria Road South, Southsea, was told to pay almost £12,000 after it was found guilty on all three counts, with fines of £3,000 per offence plus almost £3,000 costs.
The company appealed to Portsmouth Crown Court, but a judge has now upheld the convictions and increased costs to £4,500.
Bruce Lomax, Portsmouth Council’s private sector housing manager, said: “We try to work with all landlords to resolve any issues concerning their properties, but on this occasion JL Homes didn’t co-operate and put students at risk.
“We had no other option but to prosecute them, and then defend against the appeal.”
Meanwhile, as if the picture of the cooking facilities in the Portsmouth case was not – almost literally – shocking enough, take a look at the link here.
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