9:27 AM, 30th November 2011, About 12 years ago
A rogue landlord was fined £8,000 for failing to maintain standards at a shared house that was taken over by a council.
Ken Herring, 66, admitted four offences of not complying with house in multiple occupation rules before Oxford Magistrates.
The court heard that Oxford City Council found the tenants living in such a dilapidated property with unmaintained fire escapes, unsafe stair carpet, poor lighting, and missing taps in the kitchen that they took the house in Salford Road, Marston, over in June.
Herring was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £645 costs.
Herring represented himself at the hearing and told magistrates that they were ‘fair’ but blamed a tenant for contributing to the problems at the house “so she can stab me in the back so she can get a council property”.
This is the third time Herring has faced magistrates over shared house offences, he told the court he was selling five of his nine properties to pay the fine and £4,000 outstanding from the other cases.
Joe McManners, city council board member for housing needs, said: “We are pleased with the outcome. This sends a strong message to landlords that the council will and does take action against landlords who do not comply with the regulations relating to houses in multiple occupation.”
Meanwhile, a landlord in Bath was fined £1,150 with £165 costs for breaching fire safety rules in a shared house.
Hei Ting Cheung let the property in The Oval, Bath, which failed a fire safety inspection after a complaint from tenants.
The court heard that battery fire alarms failed to work, the kitchen had no door to stop the spread of smoke and fire and door locks could trap tenants if fire broke out.
He was prosecuted after improvements fell short of those demanded by the council to meet basic safety standards.
Tim Ball, cabinet member for housing, said, “Landlords must ensure that their housing is in safe condition or feel the full force of the law.
“A worrying trend with many of these cases is the use of deadlocks on fire doors by landlords which turn the house into a death trap. This must stop and we will take action against those who put their tenants in danger.”
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