Rugby Landlord Banned from Buy to Let Investment

A Rugby landlord has been banned from the sector after he put his tenants lives at risk by letting an unsafe property.

Buy to let landlord Dean Dunkley, was found guilty of several offences, including obstructing the investigation carried out against him by Rugby Borough Council’s housing enforcement team.

He had already been fined nearly £5,000 in April 2016 after pleading guilty to 25 offences under the Housing Act 2004.

An inspection of the current property by the council revealed a range of safety breaches. However, despite repeated warnings, Dunkley failed to carry out repairs. A housing enforcement officer discovered various safety issues, including faulty fire doors, broken electric sockets, holes in windows and a fridge obstructing an emergency exit. There was also a communal kitchen with no fire detection as well as broken emergency lighting and a toilet with no door.

Magistrates were told during the case that 15 tenants occupied the property’s ten bedrooms at the time of the inspection, with the landlord collecting an estimated £820 a week in rent.

Dunkley was contacted by officers after the inspection, who asked who had responsibility for managing the property. Dunkley replied with: ‘It’s your job to find out.’

Dunkley was prosecuted in his absence at Nuneaton Justice Centre last week. He was found guilty of all 19 charges and made to pay a total of £39,000. This included an £8,000 sum issued for letting a HMO without a licence and obstructing the council’s investigation. He was also ordered to pay £2,264 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

Finally, magistrates also granted the council’s application to issue Dunkley with a Criminal Behaviour Order. This bans him from being involved in letting or managing a residential property in the borough until May 2019, and states that he must secure council permission before appointing an agent to act on his behalf.

Rugby Borough Council’s head of environment and public realm, Sean Lawson, said: ‘We’re happy to work with landlords to explain the legislation surrounding HMOs and offer advice on work which needs to be carried out in order for a property to meet safety standards. But our priority has to be the safety of tenants and, when a landlord shows complete contempt for the law, we have no hesitation in taking the case to court. The severity of the fines imposed by magistrates in this case, together with the issuing of a Criminal Behaviour Order, shows no landlord can afford to cut corners when it comes to ensuring the safety of tenants.’

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