A rogue Newmarket landlord has been told he must pay almost £33,000 after being found guilty of 15 charges, 13 of which were under the Housing Act 2004.
Russell Wayne Price, of Lisburn Road, Newmarket, was prosecuted by Forest Heath District Council. The remaining charges not under the Housing Act related to Price’s failure to provide information when requested pertaining to his rental properties. At an earlier hearing he denied all charges.
The charges related to two properties in Lisburn Road, Newmarket, that were let as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Both properties were inspected in December 2016. They had each been subject to Prohibition Orders served in 2008 and 2009, banning their use as HMOs. Upon inspection, several safety concerns were revealed. They ranged from a lack of gas or electrical safety certificates to a loose electrical socket. Exposed pipework, stairs without a handrail, damp and mould were also discovered. Neither property was deemed to be habitable.
Price was found guilty of all 15 charges following a three-day trial. He was ordered to pay charges and fines totalling £25,900. He must also pay the council’s costs in bringing the prosecution which brought the total to £32,980.
District Judge Timothy King commented on the case: ‘There was a significant risk of harm to individuals.’
Forest Heath’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, said: “This should serve as a warning to any other rogue landlords across west Suffolk. Mr Price cut corners and didn’t provided safe accommodation to his tenants. In doing so he put their health and wellbeing at risk and jeopardised their safety. That is why I welcome the outcome of this case which sends a strong message to other rogue landlords. The safety of their tenants – our residents – is of paramount importance. They should not be exposed to inadequate fire safety, and the other health risks that this rogue landlord allowed. It is down to the hard work and perseverance of our housing enforcement team and the shared legal team, that we have achieved this result. I know that the vast majority of our landlords across west Suffolk are conscientious and work very hard to maintain housing standards for their tenants. That is why it is important that we take action against those few that don’t.’