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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Landlord fined £16k for tenant’s anti-social behaviour

A landlord has been handed a £16,000 fine because his tenant would not stop playing loud music.

Jason Duffield must pay the hefty penalty even though it was his tenant who disturbed neighbours by playing his dance tracks for up to 36 hours at a time.

The tenant has now moved out the property in Tamworth, Staffordshire, and Duffield, 47, has been left wondering how he is going to raise the capital needed to pay the fine.

He told the press: “I honestly can’t put into words how I feel about it. It’s made me sick with worry and I have no idea how I will pay the fine.”

Despite never having lived at the rented property, Duffield, who lives in Birmingham, was handed a restraining order by police last year because of the noise coming from the house, and was then sent an abatement notice by North Warwickshire Borough Council, which later seized stereo equipment and televisions belonging to the landlord because he rented the property out furnished.

Duffield, who has now sold the property, was as convicted of five breaches of the Noise Abatement Notice at Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court, and was ordered to pay a £10,000 fine, £6,000 in costs to the council, and £170 in surcharges. But he says that he will fight the conviction “all the way”.

He commented: “I will fight it all the way but it’s just so much extra stress. To get blamed for something I have not done is completely crazy.

“Even in court, the solicitors and the people next door said they had not seen me at the house.”

However, Steve Maxey, assistant chief executive and solicitor to the council, insisted that the fine reflects “the severity of the offence”.

He said: “Jason Duffield repeatedly ignored the warnings from the police and from the council, which not only constituted a flagrant breach of the law but also caused undue distress and upset to his neighbours in Dordon.” 

  • jeremy clarke

    Another legal mess, not exactly designed to encourage people to become landlords is it? Someone in government will one day wake up and wonder why the prs is in such a mess, by which time it'll be beyond repair!

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    It would be good if the RLA could set up a legal fund to fight this. I would be happy to contribute. It's the thin end of the wedge. How outrageous to fine a third party for someone's nuisance behaviour. This constant scapegoating must be confronted.

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    So if we follow this through, is the landlord responsible if the tenant is guilty of speeding? Or tax evasion, or murder????

    Completely and utterly ridiculous. The law is an ass!

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    Totally right John. One of the founding principles of law in this country is that you cannot be guilty of someone else's offences. How and when did it become the fault of the landlord?! And more to the point, how many landlords willbe trapped by this in future when 5-yr tenancies are mandatory and you can do nothing to evict the nuisance tenant? We're all just sitting ducks then. How many tenants will refrain from such behaviour knowing landlords will be paying their fines for them??

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    Just what was the landlord supposed to do to stop this nuisance? At best it is a six month process to evict the tenant, a tenant who has the right to quiet enjoyment. All the tools which could be used by a landlord to rectify the situation have been taken away by successive governments. Can't enter the property, can't cut the power supply, even speaking to the tenant would result in an accusation of harassment and a subsequent arrest. And do not think it cannot happen, one of my employees was arrested because he had the temerity to ask for the rent.
    This is a case which must be fought and like Rebecca I would be willing to contribute to a fighting fund.

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    If the Landlord had engaged with police and council and worked with them to try to deal with the matter this would never have happened. The fact that he had 'never visited the house' is not a defence - if anything it underlines the fact that he ignored the problem. Councils only prosecute Landlords as a last resort when friendly warnings and discussions etc. have failed.

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    Aren't you rather missing the point here? This 'crime' was committed by the tenant, not the landlord. Since when does this make the landlord culpable or even responsible for sorting out the mess? When was the last time a local council was fined for this kind of 'offence'? Judging by what goes on in most social housing projects, I'd say the answer is 'never'. Councils are unable/unwilling to sort these kind of issues on their own turf but want to fine the PRS for doing the same. Hypocrisy at it's best.

     
  • Bill Wood

    I'm inclined to agree with Gordon. Ignoring warnings from the Police and Council is the real issue in the court case. Had the landlord engaged with them, tried, with their support (or even with their assistance) to correct the situation, this situation may not have arisen Having said that, the tenant should have been the focus of Police and Council attention, rather than the landlord.

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