A councillor has been told by his own local authority to pay over £30,000 after admitting he failed to carry out timely improvements to a home he lets out.
Last week we reported that Jonny Bucknell, a Conservative councillor in the north London borough of Camden, had pleaded guilty to the charge at Highbury Magistrates Court.
He asked for more time to prepare a defence of mitigating circumstances and, according to the Ham & High newspaper, he eventually told the court he had been let down by unreliable contractors, and that the tenant had been “erratic” in reporting problems.
However, the court nonetheless told Bucknell he would have to pay a £20,000 fine, plus £5,000 to the tenant and £4,783.50 in costs, plus a £2,000 victim surcharge.
It is alleged that Bucknell - a councillor since 2010 and at one time the Conservatives’ housing spokesman on the authority - was first ordered to make improvements to his Primrose Hill flat in August 2014 but failed to comply with the improvement notice within the required period of time.
Bucknell, who represented himself in court, said he initially intended to plead not guilty, but changed his mind at the last minute.
The Ham & High reports that after sentencing, Bucknell said: “My family has been renting out empty flats for the best part of 100 years. We have always been hands-on and have been proud to have a very good relationship with our tenants. Last year was a difficult time for my family, as I’ve been supporting my wife as she undergoes treatment for cancer. I deeply regret this tenancy went badly wrong and I have already apologised to the tenant."