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Landlord who put young family’s health and safety at risk fined

A landlord has been handed a major fine by Sunderland Magistrates' Court after repeatedly refusing to carry out improvements on his cold and damp property.

Joseph Benedikt of Chardmore Road, London, has been handed a fine of £2,000 and ordered to pay £998 costs and a £200 victim surcharge after repeatedly refusing to carry out improvements on his cold and damp property.

The hearing followed an earlier guilty plea to non-compliance with an Improvement Notice relating to a property owned by him in Corporation Road, Hendon in Sunderland, which he let in a poor state despite receiving a schedule of works from Sunderland City Council's private housing team following an inspection visit to the property as part of a local selective licensing scheme.

The property required repairs to structural damage and work to address the lack of insulation and adequate heating, which contributed to widespread damp and mould in the walls, ceilings and floors throughout the property.

Conditions at the property, which included severe damp and extreme cold, were considered to pose a serious health risk to the pregnant tenant and her two children, but Benedikt refused to bring the property up to the required standards.

“This prosecution is a demonstration of our willingness to take enforcement action against landlords whose rental properties fail to meet the required standards, and a reminder of what can happen if they fail to meet their legal responsibilities,” said Councillor Graeme Miller. 

He continued: “It also shows what an important part the selective licensing scheme played in beginning the continuing process to improve private rented properties in Hendon.

“We always strive to work in partnership with private landlords and encourage them to join the accredited landlords' scheme.

“We can achieve so much more by providing people with standards of rented accommodation they deserve and landlords with the type of tenants who will respect their properties and contribute to the communities that they’re living in.”

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