An absentee Derby landlord has been fined £29,000, the largest fine ever given out for a housing offence in the city.
Landlord Adrian Ernest Dart had allowed his property to fall into disrepair, with ‘serious defects’ that put tenants’ lives ‘at risk.’
An inspection in 2016 by the council’s housing standards team uncovered a ‘dangerous electrical mains installation’ as well as ‘defective’ sanitary fitments in both bathroom and kitchen, as well as a ‘lack of automatic fire detection’. The council team described the Normanton house as being in the kind of disrepair that would allow a ‘fire to spread quickly.’
The poor condition of the house ‘put the tenants’ lives at risk’. Further dangers were also identified, including trip hazards, mould and the ‘potential for structural collapse’. The house was allegedly found in such a state of disrepair that the council felt compelled to make ‘urgent repairs.’
An improvement notice was issued for the property but was ‘not acknowledged.’ The council spent £8,030 on remedial work that ‘remains as a charge on the property until the debt is paid in full.’
Mr Dart pleaded guilty at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court to a charge of non compliance with an improvement notice served under the Housing Act 2004. He was subsequently fined £6,500. The landlord was also ordered to make a contribution of £2,436 to the council’s production costs. Finally, he was told to pay a victim surcharge of £170.
However, due to the seriousness of the case and the landlord’s lack of engagement with the council’s team, an additional fine of £20,000 was added to the total, bring the amount payable to £29,106. This meant that the fine was the largest ever issued for a housing offence in Derby. The city council aimed for this to act as a warning to other landlords.
Cabinet member for housing and urban renewal, Fareed Hussain, said: ‘The council’s housing standards team is dedicated to improving living standards for private tenants in Derby and ensuring their safety and well-being is a top priority. We are pleased to have achieved this result and hope it serves as a reminder to all landlords to provide suitable accommodation for their tenants.’