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Company ordered to pay fine and costs of £8,404 for squalid living conditions

Thursday 7 November

 

An Ashfield landlord has been found guilty of failing to comply with regulations in regards to a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).

John Cotton, Director of JP Cotton Ltd had previously entered guilty pleas to three offences in April 2019 of failing to comply with The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and section 234 of the Housing Act 2004 at the HMO property it owns on Skegby Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

Ashfield District Council’s Private Sector Housing officers were alerted to the property following complaints regarding overcrowding and disrepair. On inspecting the property officers found the rear access to the property was obstructed, poorly fitted fire doors, unfinished partition walls, extensive use of extension leads and damaged windows. Following the inspection, officers prohibited the use of the property due to the high risk electrical and fire hazards.

In sentencing at Mansfield Magistrates Court, District Judge Taaffe commented that the prohibition order was an aggravating feature of this case.  He said “This company has a responsibility under its statutory obligations. It's clear, notwithstanding the difficulties of the types of tenants who were in this property, these obligations weren't met."

The company was ordered to pay a fine of £2000 for each offence, ordered payment of the Council’s costs of £2234 and victim surcharge of £170, to be paid before 1st April 2020.

Paul Parkinson, Ashfield District Council’s Director of Housing and Assets said “We will not tolerate landlords thinking that they can get away with letting substandard accommodation. As this case shows our officers will investigate and will prosecute as necessary. This should act as a warning to landlords who think they can get away with not following regulations.”