A landlord has been put on the rogue landlord database after a council’s two-decade long campaign urging him to raise standards at his two HMOs proved unsuccessful.

The Banbury landlord, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was fined £20,000 for 54 problems discovered at the properties including a collapsing ceiling, fire safety breaches, and an abandoned car, during unannounced inspections by Cherwell Council’s housing standards team.

The gardens of both HMOs were overgrown, with blocked drains and contained piles of household and construction waste; at one property a car had been left unattended for four years despite repeated requests to remove it.

Inside, a poorly designed shower was causing the windowsill to rot and ceiling below to collapse, while broken windows and defective fire doors were found at the other house.

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The council says the issues were detrimental to the quality of life for both occupants and neighbours and will slap a banning order on the landlord if he reoffends.

Councillor John Donaldson (left), lead member for housing, says it’s the highest fine it has ever imposed on a landlord.

“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,” says Donaldson.

“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.

“This is a very firm warning to any other rogue landlords out there that cutting corners will end up costing them in the end.”

Since Cherwell started issuing rogue landlords with fines in 2018, it has handed out more than £43,000 in penalties. In the summer, it announced that law-abiding landlords could save up to £600 for paying to get HMO licences on time.

Read more about rogue landlords.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Councils are notorious for being useless, my wife has worked for two over 20 yrs and the time/resources/money they waste would make your hair curl.
    This issue could /should have been boxed up in 12 mths.

  2. 20 years of that council taking a ‘soft approach’ & trying to ‘persuade’ that landlord to raise the standards of his PRS properties is absolutely ridiculous!! I am actually shocked at the Council leaders comments to be brutally honest…

    I’m not sure if I’ve missed something or even read the story wrong when i say this… basically, a local authority has allowed a landlord to continue to rent out two not one, two properties both of which were in an awful state of disrepair and numerous Cat 1 & 2 Hazards for a period of two decades in my view is absolutely ludicrous.
    What on earth were the council officers doing for 20yrs? Had they not served any improvement notices? If so, were the notices complied with? If not, what enforcement action did the council take?

    I just cannot comprehend why it was allowed to continue.. and why the council didn’t act sooner to at least protect the safety & welfare of the occupants?!

    Having worked within Environmental Health/ Housing & enforcement at various local authorities myself, I can honestly say never in my 30yrs experience have I ever heard anything so absurd… Officers dealing with serious hazards under HHSRS (Cat 1) request that works be carried out to rectify the hazard immediately or allow works to be done within a number of weeks or 1/2/3 months depending on the hazard, level of risk & likelihood of harm to the current occupant(s).

    And why they didn’t they utilise their powers and issue that landlord a CPN up to £30k instead of opting for the long & costly route of a full prosecution then a court hearing is something else that puzzles me… CPN’s as an alternative to full prosecutions are less time consuming & should be used by councils to reduce the amount of time, money & resources used by a full prosecution… it also means bringing a person to justice a little sooner (albeit, just a few months sooner!).

  3. Forgot to mention in my last comment…

    “will slap a banning order on the landlord if he reoffends.”

    ‘IF’ the landlord who got away with renting out 2 substandard PRS properties for ‘20 years’ reoffends then the council won’t hesitate to issue him with a banning order??

    Why wait? He should’ve already had a banning order after 20 whole years of non-compliance!

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