A landlord who persistently broke residential lettings rules has been banned from operating in what a local council calls “a landmark legal ruling.”
Julie Stoddern, of Camborne in Cornwall, is the first landlord in the county to be issued with a Banning Order following years of offending.
The order prohibits Stoddern from engaging in residential lettings for five years, and places her on the national Rogue Landlords Database.
Stoddern was prosecuted by the Council and convicted at Truro Magistrates’ Court in November last year, at which time she was ordered to pay a fine of £2,500 for each of two offences, costs of £5,515 and a victim surcharge of £190.
Those offences related to the breach of a Prohibition Order, allowing the property in question to be overcrowded and failure to hold a House in Multiple Occupation licence.
Stoddern has now been convicted of offences under the Housing Act 2004 on three separate occasions over an eight-year period and due to the seriousness and repeat nature of the offending, Cornwall Council submitted an application to the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber for a Banning Order to be made.
This has now been granted and it bans Stoddern from letting houses, letting agency work or property management work in England.
The latest offences came to the attention of Cornwall Council’s private sector housing team during the first national lockdown due to concerns that the house risked increasing community Covid transmission.
A team member says: “There have been multiple reports of antisocial behaviour and police attendance to the address over several years, with a demonstrably high community impact linked to the offending.
“Breaching a landlord Banning Order is a criminal offence and can lead to a fine and/or imprisonment for up to 51 weeks. It is hoped that the risk of imprisonment will stop further offending. Compliance with the order will be monitored throughout the five-year term, and the council will not hesitate to take further action in the event of a breach occurring.”
Banning orders are made by the First-tier Tribunal following an application by a local council, which must demonstrate that the landlord has committed a ‘banning order offence’ and serve a notice on the landlord prior to proceedings.
Such offences include unlawful eviction, overcrowding, and a wide range of health and safety related offences.