Liverpool City Council has issued a warning to private landlords and property investors not to sit on long term vacant homes, following the case of an empty property which became home to scores of vermin.
A landlord had recently been fined after allowing his property to be overcome by an infestation. Giles McHugh of, Farnham, Surrey, was found guilty in front of Liverpool Magistrates’ Court after he failed to remove rubbish and swathes of overgrown vegetation from the front and rear gardens of the private rental property he owns in Norris Green.
Inspectors visited the property following complaints from several neighbours of rodents on the premises. The council ordered the landlord to undertake the necessary work, however he failed to comply. A month after the original inspection, the notice expired, and McHugh also failed to respond to further warning letters and persisted to leave the property in its negligible state. As a default option, the council was forced to carry out the work.
Although it is the general consensus among landlords that intentional void periods are not to be desired, when left with property which is challenging to let it is imperative that landlords don’t let it fall into disrepair, or they could face a similar case of court action.
McHugh was fined £500 as a result of his negligence, and was ordered to pay costs of £150 on top of this.
After the hearing, Councillor Frank Hont, cabinet member for housing, said: ‘The impact of derelict houses on the local community is immeasurable and infestations of rats and mice cause untold distress. When refurbished this property would make a lovely family home. It is part of the mayoral pledge to deal with long term vacant houses and engage with owners to bring the properties back into use. In this case our efforts were frustrated and we had no option but to take legal action – this should be a warning to those who let their vacant property go to wrack and ruin, engage with us to put the property right or face the consequences.’