Goole landlord fined £2000 after failing to comply with improvement notices

Mon, 23 Aug 2021

A Goole landlord who failed to comply with improvement notices for a vulnerable tenant and threatened to evict her if the improvements were too costly has been fined £2,000 by magistrates.

Michael Farrar, 57, of High Street, Airmyn, saw his case held at Hull Magistrates' Court on Friday, 20 August. Mr Farrar pleaded guilty by post to the non-compliance of a Housing Act notice served under sections 11 and 12 of the Housing Act 2004.

The case was brought to court by East Riding of Yorkshire Council's private sector housing team following a complaint in December 2019 from a tenant living in a property at Pasture Road in Goole.

An inspection was undertaken in January 2020 following a complaint the tenant had made to the council of disrepair at '45a Pasture Road, Goole'. The property is a one bedroom first floor flat located above a food shop. Multiple hazards were identified during this inspection including excess cold (an insufficient heating system and a window that was difficult to close) and fire (lack of a necessary escape window from the bedroom, lack of a required interlinked alarm system and no evidence of sufficient fire protection from the commercial property below).

Mr Farrar failed to provide a timescale to undertake the necessary repairs despite repeated requests, he also threatened to evict the tenant if the work was too expensive. With the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, he then used this as a reason not to send contractors to the property because of the tenant's ill health.

Under the Housing Act 2004, the council has a duty to serve notice where a Category 1 hazard is identified and has the power to serve notice where a Category 2 hazard is identified. Following discussions with the tenant she made it clear that she would like for works to be undertaken and as such the decision was taken to serve notice. Improvement notices were then served requiring works to be carried out to reduce the category 1 (Excess Cold) and category 2 (Fire) hazards. These notices were not appealed.

Sufficient timescales were given to allow for any potential delays due the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, after the notices expired the property was revisited and only a small proportion of the works required had been completed.

Farrar was fined a total of £2,000, has to pay a victim surcharge of £190 and full costs of £1,709.70. A total of £3,899.70.

Chris Dunnachie, private sector housing manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "Officers had on several occasions informed Mr. Farrar that he needed to make essential legal repairs to the property which he chose to ignore.

"This is a timely reminder to landlords of their responsibilities to ensure their properties are safe and kept in good order to prevent potential harm to tenants and their families and ultimately prevent the necessity of enforcement action."

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