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Landlord fined for renting substandard accommodation

Robert Emery of Higham, Kent, was served improvement orders on two of his properties. The council first contacted Emery about the condition of one property in June 2013. The property had a broken toilet, damp and no heating. The council later followed this up with a formal improvement notice, but Emery did not carry out any of the work required.A second property had rising damp and condensation, and a dangerous electrical system. Some of the windows were not fitted with restrictors, meaning they could be opened far enough to climb out. Emery continued to rent the property to a tenant with two children under the age of five, despite the council’s order.He was served a prohibition order on a third property due to a series of issues, including damp in every room. Although the original tenants had left, two months later council officers discovered that new tenants were living there, despite the fact he had done no maintenance work. The tenants were placed there by a housing agency, under Emery’s instructions.The case was brought to court following a grant of government funding made specifically to tackle the problem of substandard housing and irresponsible landlords in Medway. Councillor Howard Doe, in charge of housing, commented, “I hope these prosecutions will send out a strong message to landlords and letting agents that the council will not accept tenants being placed in substandard and unsafe properties.”
 
Landlords who are not familiar with the laws governing rental properties sometimes assume that it is the tenants’ job to make repairs. Since they own the properties, this responsibility falls to the landlord and the penalties for ignoring it can be stiff. Emery pleaded guilty to the offences, though he did not attend court, and was ordered to pay an £8,300 fine and a further £3,780 in legal costs.
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