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Bizarre case of the landlord and the vermin in the back yard

A company which failed to declare its interest in a property which had health and vermin risks has been ordered to pay over £1,800.

A house in County Durham was inspected last year following concerns around the state and condition of the rear yard.

Waste materials had accumulated, there was a blocked drain gully and incomplete waste provision to allow for proper drainage, resulting in a risk to health.


A council tax search highlighted Front Worth Limited, of Birmingham, to be the owner of the property, with these details being later confirmed by a Land Registry check.

A notice under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act, requiring the owner to carry out works to keep the land and property free from vermin, was served by the authority but was not responded to.

A separate response, however, was received from an individual who stated that the property did not belong to Front Worth Limited and that it had been sold some time ago.

But as there was clear evidence it was the registered proprietor, council officers served a separate notice, requiring the company to state, in writing, the nature of its interest in the property within 14 days.

The council says the company has not responded.

A court case was heard in the defendant's absence at Peterlee Magistrates Court, where the company was fined £1,100 and ordered to pay £300 costs and a £440 victim surcharge, totalling £1,840.

A County Durham council spokesperson says: “All landlords have a duty to follow the necessary guidance and ensure appropriate work is carried out to their properties to help protect the health and safety of tenants and communities.

"While the majority of landlords work with us to ensure this remains the case, we hope this prosecution serves as a warning to the minority who fail to comply with instructions. This behaviour will not be tolerated and we will always take action where necessary."  

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  • George Dawes

    Always wondered what happened to Roland Rat


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