01 August 2014

Herefordshire landlord, Martin Rohde, has been ordered to pay a fine of more than £4,000, after continuing to rent an unsafe flat to a family with young children, despite being served with an Emergency Prohibition Order to prevent the property being occupied.

Environmental health officers found that the property containing three flats, had a faulty fire alarm system, poor fire separation, obstructed fire escape as well as a defective electrical installation.

Mr Rohde attended court on 30th July and pleaded guilty to the offence under Section 32 of the Housing Act 2004. He was fined £2,750 and ordered to pay a contribution towards the Council’s costs of £1,250 along with a victim surcharge of £120.

Marc Willimont, Head of development management & environmental health at Herefordshire Council, said: “While we support good landlords and welcome the living accommodation they provide, we will not tolerate the minority of rogue landlords that consider they are above the law. Where premises are so poor that we have to prohibit occupation, we expect any reasonable landlord to exclude tenants until the property has been bought back up to standard. Today’s verdict demonstrates that the courts will not tolerate landlords who continue to put their tenants at risk.”

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

Original source: newsroom.herford.gov.uk