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Bizarre Behaviour Landlord back in court a second time

A landlord who has repeatedly flouted housing rules has been fined a further £36,000 following a prosecution brought by a council. 

Giuseppe Sutera appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court for a second prosecution pursued by South Gloucestershire council. The total fine level has now reached over £80,000 after Sutera was first ordered to pay over £44,000 for serious housing offences in June 2023. 

He has now been found guilty of additional housing offences relating to two of his properties in Patchway and is subject to further fines totalling over £36,000. The new offences include operating an unlicensed HMO and ongoing breach of an Emergency Prohibition Order.


Giuseppe Sutera, also known as Joe Sutera, received widespread media attention last year when he was first prosecuted. At the hearing in June 2023 he attended court but refused to identify himself stating only that he was “a man” and that Mr Joe Sutera was “lost at sea”. This time Sutera attended court and pleaded guilty to the offences.

During the latest hearing, the court heard how Sutera was operating an illegal HMO from a two storey semi-detached house in Patchway. South Gloucestershire Council was first alerted to the property in March 2023 when they came across an arbitrary payment without an HMO licence application. 

Sutera was approached numerous times and invited to make a full and valid HMO licence application for the property but he failed to do so.

An inspection of the property was arranged, and council officers found a total of 13 tenants including children living in the property in overcrowded rooms. There was no fixed heating in the property, inadequate and unhygienic kitchen facilities, inadequate fire precautions and, in one room, severe damp and mould made worse by high density living, lack of heating and poor insulation.

An assessment using the Housing, Health & Safety Rating System under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 confirmed that there were Category 1 hazards for Crowding and Space, Excess Cold, Fire and Food Safety and Category 2 hazards for Damp & Mould and Domestic Hygiene, Pest and Refuse.

Sutera had not made the necessary application for a HMO licence and also failed to engage with officers to discuss the condition of the house. Therefore two notices were served under the Housing Act 2004 – an Overcrowding Notice to limit the number of people permitted to occupy the property and an Improvement Notice to require Sutera to undertake works to improve the condition of the property.

The offence of failing to apply for a HMO licence where one is needed, is an absolute offence to which there is no defence under the Housing Act 2004. Sutera showed he had knowledge of the HMO licence process as he made the HMO licence payment and he has licenced HMOs in the Bristol City Council area. It was clear to the council that, despite a previous prosecution, Sutera was determined to flout housing legislation and run his properties in a manner that puts his tenant’s health, safety and wellbeing at risk.

The court then went on to hear how Sutera was committing an ongoing and flagrant breach of an Emergency Prohibition Order (EPO) served by the council relating to a property in Patchway. 

The EPO was originally served on the 25 October 2022 under section 43 of the Housing Act 2004 and required Sutera to ensure that the dwelling was not occupied until a serious fire risk was removed. This would involve a reconfiguration of the premises, including removal of a shared kitchen located in the fire escape route of the property. Sutera was first prosecuted for breach of the EPO in June 2023 and has continued to flout the Order over 18 months after it was initially served.

The council provided evidence that they had inspected the property on several occasions following service of the EPO, and since the prosecution in June 2023. They found that Sutera was allowing existing tenants to continue to live in the property, and that he had set up new tenancies and new tenants had moved into the property even since he had been prosecuted for breaching the EPO.

A council spokesperson says: “There are approximately 17,000 privately rented properties here in South Gloucestershire, and it’s unacceptable when landlords fail to meet their legal responsibilities in relation to the conditions of the homes they offer for rent.

“The council’s Private Sector Housing team always endeavor to engage with and work with landlords to bring their properties up to standard, but where this informal approach fails, we are left with no option but to take enforcement action.

“The level of the fines handed out to this landlord acts as serious warning to others disregarding the rules that they have a legal responsibility to protect their tenants and provide a safe and decent property for them to live in, and if they fail to do this, action will be taken.”

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  • George Dawes

    They do love their fines don’t they .?

    If we fined councils for incompetence they’d all be bankrupt in the first week , ok hour

  • icon

    He sounds odd alright 🤷‍♂️ But shove a charge on the properties, job done.

  • Richard LeFrak

    I guess most landlords are 'Lost At Sea' at the minute...

  • Richard LeFrak

    I see no comments allowed on the next post about cultural awareness? Without being controversial there is no Smith or Jones in the previous articles today being slapped with fines?

    Should they attend too?


    Kim Jon Norwood has spoken! 😠 Free speech is NOT PERMITTED.😡


    I had thought the same

  • icon

    No sympathy for him whatsoever. This type of landlord tarnishes all landlords. We cannot complain about poor social housing and not condemn criminals like this. I say criminals because having a kitchen, where fires usually start, in the fire escape route is a criminal threat to occupants’ safety..


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