A buy-to-let landlord in Stevenage has been fined £14,000 and told to pay Stevenage Borough Council’s legal costs of £2,845.50 and a victim surcharge of £120 after failing to meet basic health and safety standards in his rental property.
The property, a maisonette above commercial premises on Broadwater Crescent, SG2, had been converted into two separate flats.
But officers from Stevenage Borough Council’s environmental health (residential) team discovered, upon inspection, that the standard of conversion works was poor and that there were deficiencies resulting in serious hazards to the health and safety of the tenants, including fire hazards and excess cold, amounting to Category 1 hazards under the Housing Act 2004.
The building also lacked an adequate fire detection and alarm system and there were no fire doors. There was also evidence of electrical faults and the single-glazed windows to the flats were in serious disrepair with rotting frames.
The landlord, John Kirbyshire, was issued with a Prohibition Order in February 2018, under the Housing Act 2004, prohibiting the occupation of the top floor flat until specified remedial works had been completed.
But Kirbyshire ignored the Prohibition Order and continued to rent out the top floor flat to private tenants, despite the fact that serious fire safety hazards remained in the property.
The landlord was prosecuted under Section 32 of the Housing Act 2004 for two offences of contravening the Prohibition Order.
He was found guilty in his absence at a hearing at St Albans Magistrates’ Court.
Cllr Jeannette Thomas, Stevenage Borough Council’s executive member for housing, said: “We will not tolerate the few landlords who provide substandard accommodation and have a disregard for the health and safety of tenants.
“The council will continue to use enforcement action such as prosecution, civil penalty notices and rent repayment orders to deal with unscrupulous landlords.”