Council hope fine will act as a deterrent to all private landlords

A private landlord is facing a hefty bill when he was successfully prosecuted after he failed to carry out important improvements to one of his properties. Barrow Borough Council decided to launch proceedings after their requests to improve a property, which had fallen below legal standards, were totally ignored.

Landlord Wayne Moffat was found to have failed to comply with two improvement notices issued to him and the 51-year-old from Barrow was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £998.76. The council first contacted Mr Moffat after a complaint from a tenant, who was living in the property which was protected by landlord insurance. They then inspected the property and found that it fell below the statutory standards set out in the housing health and safety rating system. Attempts were then made to contact the landlord via letters, phone calls and visits to his home address before formal improvement notices were sent out to him. When he ignored the warnings to carry out the work, the council felt they had no choice but to take legal action against him.

Housing renewal manager for the council, Chris Jones, said “We are hoping it sends a bit of a message that we are serious about enforcing these standards. Most landlords will carry out improvements if they are contacted by the council. I would say that most landlords where we have said there is a problem do the work. Most of them that don’t do the work when we contact them informally do so after we issue an improvement notice.”

Last month, the council launched a crackdown on empty homes after it was revealed that the borough has at least seven-hundred houses that are classed as long term empty properties. The council hope that owners can be traced and be persuaded to renovate their homes. Many councils, like Barrow, across the UK are promising to find tenants for properties once the owner has refurbished the house and arranged property insurance cover. It is a sign of the housing crisis in all areas of the UK at the moment and an outstanding opportunity for landlords to get back into business.

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