A collapsing ceiling, filthy facilities, and an abandoned car are among the dangerous defects leading to a Banbury landlord facing a £20,000 bill.
They were among dozens of breaches uncovered when Cherwell council’s housing team made unannounced inspections at two HMOs in Banbury.
The landlord, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has a history of non-compliance with housing law and the council says they could face a banning order if they reoffend.
John Donaldson, Cherwell's lead councillor for housing, comments: “This is the highest financial penalty we have ever imposed on a landlord. It is not a decision we have taken lightly, and indeed it is quite extraordinary that officers found 54 breaches at just two properties.
“Over the last 20 years we have tried many informal and formal ways of trying to get this individual to bring their properties up to scratch. The sheer number of officer hours devoted to this is a big part of why the penalties now meted out have to be this severe.
“HMO management regulations impose strict duties upon landlords to keep their properties clean, safe and in good repair. While the vast majority of landlords are meeting those obligations, this is a very firm warning to any other rogue landlords out there that cutting corners will end up costing them in the end.”
The council claims the deficiencies were wide-ranging and “detrimental to the quality of life for both the occupants and neighbours.”
The gardens of both the properties were overgrown, with blocked drains and unsightly accumulations of household and construction waste.
At one of the properties a car was left unattended for four years in the face of repeated requests to remove it. Inside, a poorly designed shower was causing the windowsill to rot and ceiling below to collapse. At the other house, broken windows and defective fire doors were found.
The enforcement action was taken for offences under the Housing Act 2004 and the landlord has agreed to pay the penalties following a lengthy investigation and appeals process.
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