Large fine for HMO landlord

A landlord has been hit with a £23,000 fine for failing to properly maintain two HMOs.Landlord Lystra Dorval from Ilford was issued with not fewer than 10 penalty notices in relation to poor management of the HMOs in Essex.

Officers at Tendring District Council say they attempted to work with the landlord as far back as April 2019 to help improve property standards, with two follow-up meetings. However, in August 2019 the council issued an emergency prohibition order to shut down the buildings.

Formal enforcement began with a final notice of work covering issues such as a faulty fire alarm, blocked fire escapes, insecure entrance doors, broken staircases, toilets not working, water leaks and dangerous electrics.The authority also reported that the tenants occupying the HMO had been threatened with eviction after highlighting problems, while several complaints were made by neighbours and others about anti-social behaviour.

Penalty notices were issued due to non-compliance and breaches of regulations covering the management of the properties and eventually the council removed Dorval’s HMO licences, deeming her no longer a “fit and proper person” to operate the properties.

Dorval claimed some of the issues were down to tenants, and appealed to a first tier housing tribunal; however, the tribunal endorsed the council decision in October 2020, although the fines were reduced to £23,000 following an appeal.

A spokesperson for Tendring council says: “We are not afraid to take action against rogue landlords who think it is acceptable for our residents to live in sub-standard housing – whether that’s issuing our own fines, or following various appeals through the tribunals.

“The vast majority of landlords in Tendring properly maintain their properties and want the same thing as us; decent quality homes for tenants, and in turn a rental income for them.

“We will always work with and support landlords who share this view. Unfortunately this case highlights the issues which can happen, rarely to this level, and we will not hesitate to take strong action to clamp down on landlords who flout the rules.”

                                  

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