£41k legal bill and £8k fine

09 May 2017

A landlord from Rugby has been banned from being a landlord after putting his tenants lives at risk.

Mr Dean Dunkley was also handed a £41,000 legal bill by magistrates after he was found guilty of a string of offences at AJ's Bar, a four-storey building formerly a pub.

He was fined nearly £5,000 in April 2016 after pleading guilty to 25 offences under the Housing Act 2004 - a prosecution brought by the council after an inspection of the property revealed a catalogue of safety breaches. Mr Dunkley failed to carry out repairs despite repeated warnings.

Following the prosecution, the council's housing enforcement team obtained a warrant to carry out a further inspection of the property in August.

A housing enforcement officer discovered a host of safety issues, including faulty fire doors, broken electric sockets, holes in windows and a fridge obstructing an emergency exit.

Other issues included a communal kitchen with no fire detection.

Following the inspection, the officer contacted Dunkley to ask who had responsibility for managing the property.

He replied: "It's your job to find out."

Magistrates heard 15 tenants occupied the property's ten bedrooms at the time of the inspection, and Dunkley was collecting an estimated £820 a week in rent.

Magistrates also granted the council's application to issue Dunkley with a Criminal Behaviour Order which bans him from being involved in letting or managing a residential property for rent in the borough until May 2019.

In addition, the order states Dunkley must secure permission from the council before appointing an agent to let or manage a residential property on his behalf.

Speaking after the hearing, Sean Lawson, Rugby Borough Council's head of environment and public realm, 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."

Original source

Rugby Borough Council