Property owner given huge fine and suspended sentence

In a case that will disturb all decent landlords with an interest in landlord insurance, a Warwickshire landlord has been given a massive £30,000 fine and a six month suspended jail sentence after one of the properties he rented out was described as looking more like a cave than a home.

Landlord Steven Boote was prosecuted after an inspector went to the property and found it was overrun with damp, mould and moss. The inspector put in his report that the property was the worst house he had seen in ten years of doing his job. The tenant lived with carpets that had become encrusted with mould an inch deep and the walls were all plastered with moss. The property has had no gas or hot water for many years and thirty buckets were positioned to catch all of the water dripping from the leaks in the roof.

Mr Boote was given a £30,000 fine including court costs and sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work after the court was shown pictures of the horrific state of his property. He was also charged with two counts of failing to carry out gas safety checks and failing to comply with an improvement notice which was issued to him.

Tenant David Whorlow, who has lived in the property since he was born, said “Living there was an absolute nightmare. I couldn’t have friends and family round and I was finding it really stressful. If I had walked out or moved then Boote would have got off scot-free from doing any repairs.”

Mr Boote who has over 40 properties bought the house four years ago but he neglected to carry out any repairs or important maintenance. Coventry Council made a surprise visit to the property in November 09 and found a number of health and safety violations which also included electrical hazards and inadequate cooking facilities. The costs issued are very high because they reflect the seriousness of the offences and also the disregard shown by the landlord to both the law and his tenant.