One of the UK’s biggest and arguably most contentious buy-to-let landlords has been ordered to pay £25,000 after ignoring a notice to fix a disabled tenant’s hot water for five months.
Judith Wilson, 68, wife of one of Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlords, Fergus Wilson, 70, has been found guilty of failing to comply with an enforcement notice ordering her to supply hot water to a disabled tenant.
She was served a notice by Ashford Borough Council after her former tenants Sarah and Mark Manser, who is wheelchair-bound, went without upstairs hot water for five months.
Wilson was found guilty of failing to comply with an enforcement notice ordering her to supply hot water to a disabled tenant at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court last month.
Yesterday Wilson was fined £10,000 and told to pay costs of almost £15,000 for failing to comply with an enforcement notice.
The landlord has been given eight weeks to pay.
Welcoming the sentencing, a spokesman for Ashford Borough Council said the case is a powerful reminder to private sector landlords that there will be serious consequences if they fail to deal fairly with their tenants.
“This successful prosecution shows that we have teeth and we are not afraid to fight for the rights of tenants. What a lot of private sector tenants don't realise is that if they have trouble with their landlord they can come to us for help.
“Ashford Borough Council champions the rights of tenants and we make sure that landlords remain accountable and live up to their responsibilities under the law. If they don't then there are consequences.
“In this case we did everything we could to resolve the situation. We gave Mrs Wilson every opportunity to find a solution to the problem but we were ignored. In the end, we realised that the only way to get justice for the tenants involved was to prosecute.”
In a statement outside court in November following the verdict, Fergus Wilson said that the ruling against this wife could result in the eviction of potentially hundreds of tenants, as the couple look to sell off their property portfolio.
Wilson commented: “We were selling up anyway because of our age - I could drop dead tomorrow.
“We won't be giving people notice to quit over the Christmas period and to be honest we would sell the whole lot tomorrow if we could.
“We won't put all the homes on the market at once because that would mean house prices will drop.”