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Southend landlord hit with £39,000 fine for “appalling” conditions

A landlord in Southend has been slapped with a £39,000 fine for breaching regulations for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last week ordered Robert Crow, of 19 Devereux Road, Southend, to pay £35,000 in fines and £4,000 in costs for 15 violations of regulations governing HMOs after his tenants were found to be living in “appalling” conditions.

After ignoring numerous prohibition orders and improvement notices from the council and refusing entry to the property, an enforcement officer enacted a warrant on 20 August with five police officers.

The overcrowded property provided uninhabitable living conditions for the tenants, with one man sleeping in a tiny bedroom with no windows and two people even found to be living in the back yard under tarpaulin.

Unsurprisingly, the magistrates described the conditions as “appalling, deplorable, and inhumane” which had “no place in a modern Britain of today”.

“No-one should have to be living in conditions like this, and this has been recognised by the Courts with a large fine that reflects the seriousness of the offences,” said council housing manager Andrew Fiske.

“Our enforcement officer who led the case said it was one of the worst they had seen in their professional career and so this prosecution was vital and is welcomed.”

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