Landlord Fined for Unsafe Investment Property

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A landlord from the Reading area has been fined for housing tenants in an unsafe rental property.

Peter Steel, of High Street, Little Sandhurst, was convicted in his absence at Reading Magistrates’ Court of breaching two improvement notices issued by Reading Borough Council.

The unsafe investment property was a two-bedroom flat situated in Hardwick Road, Tilehurst, which was let by Mr Steel in November 2016.

The property was visited by a member of the council’s Private Sector Housing Team, who found the property to be unsafe due to radiators in the living room and the kitchen falling off their fittings and the living room window not shutting properly, which created a security risk.

Further unsafe elements in the flat were a light switch hanging off the wall in one bedroom and the property being generally in a poor state of repair.

The council initially sent a letter to the landlord with a schedule of works but received no response. A follow-up letter was also ignored.

The tenant then contacted the council in January 2017 to say that there was no hot water to the kitchen taps.

A further visit from the council confirmed that there was indeed no hot water to the taps, and none of the work instructed had been carried out.

Mr Steel then contacted the Private Sector Housing Team to say the work would be carried out, but a subsequent visit found that no action had been taken. Numerous further attempts to contact the landlord were unsuccessful.

The council issued an Improvement Notice, but a further visit found none of the work had been undertaken.

Mr Steel was subsequently prosecuted for breaching an improvement notice under section 11 and breach of improvement notice under section 12.

He was found guilty in the court and fined £500 per offence. He was also ordered to pay £1,941 legal costs and £50 victim surcharge, a total of £2,991.

Councillor John Ennis, lead member for Housing, said: ‘The landlord in this case was given ample opportunity to repair the faults in his property but failed to take any action. Meanwhile, his tenant was living in poor, unsafe conditions and without hot water in the kitchen.’

He continued: ‘It is unacceptable for landlords to let their properties fall into these levels of disrepair and I am pleased the council’s Private Sector Housing Team are there to fight on behalf of tenants in these situations.’

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