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Landlord who ignored Improvement Notices is ordered to pay almost £3,000

Reading Borough Council has won a case against a buy-to-let landlord who allowed his tenants to live in unsafe conditions, despite official notices to make essential improvements to his property.

Reading Magistrates’ Court ordered Peter Steel of Little Sandhurst in Berkshire to pay a fine of £500 per offence as well as £1,941 legal costs and £50 victim surcharge, totalling £2,991.

The council decided to take action against Steel after members of its private sector housing team visited his two-bedroom flat in Hardwick Road, Tilehurst, which was let out.

During the visit, which took place in November 2016, they found that the flat was generally in a poor state of repair, with a light switch hanging off the wall in one bedroom, a living room window  that did not shut properly, while radiators in the living room and the kitchen were falling off their fittings. 

An initial letter to Steel with a schedule of works was ignored and a follow-up letter also received no response.

Following a further visit by the council, in which it was discovered that there was no hot water to the kitchen taps, Steel finally contacted the private sector housing team to say the work would be carried out.

However, a subsequent visit found that no action had been taken.

The council issued an Improvement Notice, but a further visit found none of the work had been undertaken, leaving the council with little alternative but to take legal action.

Steel was found guilty of breaching an improvement notice under Section 11 and breach of improvement notice under Section 12.

Cllr John Ennis, lead member for housing, said: “The landlord in this case was given ample opportunity to repair the faults in his property but failed to take any action

“Meanwhile, his tenant was living in poor, unsafe conditions and without hot water in the kitchen.

“It is unacceptable for landlords to let their properties fall into these levels of disrepair and I am pleased the council’s Private Sector Housing Team are there to fight on behalf of tenants in these situations.”

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