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Mouse infestation costs landlord thousands of pounds

A landlord has been fined thousands of pounds for failing to maintain a property that was so badly ridden with pests that it was dangerous for its tenants.

When officers from Gloucester City Council inspected the property, they found evidence of what was described as a "serious mouse infestation", including droppings and other damage. The landlord was fined £2,500 for failing to manage the property correctly.

The landlord, Saqib Rasul, also received separate fines for other infringements. These included a £1,000 fine for failing to provide gas and electrical safety certificates, plus a further £1,500 in costs.

Local authorities appreicate that landlords provide a vital service and will usually work with them to improve their properties, knowing that not all landlords fully understand the law. However, repeated infringements or ignored improvement notices are increasingly resulting in prosecution, as councils crack down on rogue landlords who rent out their properties but consistently ignore their legal obligations to their tenants.

In this case, the issues with the property were considered so severe that the council opted to move straight to prosecution. Julie Wright, private sector housing serivice manager, said: "Landlords such as Mr Rasul tarnish the reputation of the compliant landlords who do not put their tenants at risk by renting out sub-standrd accommodation. Hopefully this prosecution is a warning to the city's landlords that, if you don't play by the rules, you will be prosecuted."

Landlords who feel they have been unfarily treaed nevertheless have redress, and Mr Rasul stated that he would be filing a complaint against the council and appealing the court's decision. He stated that he did comply with the improvement notice handed to him after the inspection, but before the case went to court. He has called the fines "unreasonable", complaining that no second inspection was carried out after the initial visit. Landlords finding themselves in this situation could also consider a judicial review, where they consider the penatly too harsh or imposed too soon.

On the other side of the coin,  tenants affected by such issues have rights to claim compensation, usually mulitples of their rent. In addition, if they are injured by ingesting faeces then they might also have a personal injury claim.

Do you have issues with a property you are renting? Talk to us. We are experienced property specialists and can give landlords all the legal advice they need.Call 01302 320621 or email landlords@athertongodfrey.co.uk

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