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Landlord fined £5k for not attending appeal

A buy-to-let landlord who failed to attend an appeal hearing has been ordered to pay Stafford Borough Council more than £5,000 in costs.

The landlord, Calvin Wong, was initially handed fines and costs of £14,202.38 by magistrates last year for failing to license and properly maintain a shared house he was renting out in Marston Grove, Stafford. He did not appear at that hearing and the magistrates found him guilty in his absence.

Wong appealed against the conviction and the case was set to be heard at Stafford Crown Court last week, but he failed to show up again.

Recorder Sam Mainds, sitting with two magistrates, rejected the appeal and ordered Wong to pay the local authority's costs of £5,061.50 within the next 28 days.

He said: “We are satisfied he knew of these proceedings and chose not to attend. Almost bizarrely he did not attend the magistrates court either and the case was found against him.”

Wong, of southwest London, was originally found guilty of failing to fit a suitable fire detection system, failing to keep the property in good order, and not obtaining a licence from the Borough Council, as required because the property in Stafford was occupied by up to five unrelated tenants.

Following the case, councillor Jeremy Pert, cabinet member for communities, said: “The judge described the proceedings as bizarre - but I see it as a waste of public money and resources and I am very glad Mr Wong will have to pay even more for his folly.

“The vast majority of landlords work with us to ensure the accommodation they provide is of the highest standard. Mr Wong did not.

“We can all imagine the potential consequences of having many tenants in a house and not having a working fire detection system in place. It is a failing that makes me shudder.

“So I hope this case sends a clear message that we will prosecute if you fail to make sure your property is properly maintained.”

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