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Whopping fine should ‘serve as a warning to any other rogue landlords’

A rogue landlord in Newmarket who exposed tenants to ‘significant risk’ has been ordered to pay almost £33,000 after being found guilty in court.

Russell Wayne Price, 50, of Lisburn Road, Newmarket, was found guilty of 15 charges following prosecution by Forest Heath District Council.

Some 13 charges, which related to two Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Lisburn Road, Newmarket, were under the Housing Act 2004, with the other two charges related to the landlord’s failure to provide information about the properties when requested.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard that both properties, which were inspected by housing officers a year ago, were subject to Prohibition Orders served in 2008 and 2010, banning them from being used as HMOs.

It was discovered that the properties featured several safety concerns, including a lack of sufficient fire detection and escape routes, a lack of gas or electrical safety certificates, and a loose electrical socket.

District Judge Timothy King, who ordered Price to pay charges, council costs and fines totalling £32,980, said: “There was a significant risk of harm to individuals.”

Cllr. Sara Mildmay-White, Forest Heath’s cabinet member for housing, insisted that this “should serve as a warning to any other rogue landlords across west Suffolk”.

She added: “Mr Price cut corners and didn’t provided safe accommodation to his tenants. In doing so he put their health and wellbeing at risk and jeopardised their safety.

“That is why I welcome the outcome of this case which sends a strong message to other rogue landlords.

“The safety of their tenants – our residents – is of paramount importance. They should not be exposed to inadequate fire safety, and the other health risks that this rogue landlord allowed.

“It is down to the hard work and perseverance of our housing enforcement team and the shared legal team, that we have achieved this result.

“I know that the vast majority of our landlords across west Suffolk are conscientious and work very hard to maintain housing standards for their tenants. That is why it is important that we take action against those few that don’t.”

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