Rogue landlord fined £70,000 after rotten waste and broken floors found at homes
- Credit: Archant
A rogue landlord who owned properties with floors at risk of collapse, drains filled with rubble and rotting waste has been fined £70,500 by Tendring District Council.
The houses in multiple occupation (HMO) owned by Lystra Dorval, in Hayes Road, Clacton were so poor the council were forced to relocate a number of tenants.
Dorval, of Oaks Lane, Ilford, was given 10 penalty notices relating to poor management of the HMOs.
The district council’s private sector housing team began engaging with Dorval in April 2019, setting out what works were needed to make the sub-standard properties acceptable.
Tenants also reported to TDC they were threatened with eviction for pointing out issues, while numerous complaints about anti-social behaviour and the condition of the property were made by neighbours and others.
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In August Dorval was told to make immediate repairs to the fire alarm, but when two days later the work was not done an emergency prohibition order was issued – shutting down the HMOs – with TDC’s Housing team working to re-home tenants.
A final notice of work was given however a gas leak and flooding was detected the following day after pipework was stolen, and during clear-up work further damage to the properties was revealed including floors at risk of collapse, drains blocked with rubble, and rotting waste.
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The penalty notices were issued due to non-compliance and breaches of regulations covering the management of HMOs prior to and on 6 August 2019, following the earlier informal requests.
With slow and unsatisfactory progress on repairs to the building prior to their closure, in September last year Dorval was issued with the penalty notices and had her HMO licences removed as TDC determined her no longer a ‘fit and proper person’ to run the properties.
Dorval appealed against the penalty notices, but a First Tier Housing Tribunal reached a similar decision to TDC following a hearing held on Friday, 9 October.
The level of fines were reduced slightly from the original £90,000 levied by TDC, and he was ordered to pay £70,500.
Paul Honeywood, TDC Cabinet Member for Housing, said the case would send a strong message to landlords who thought they could not maintain their properties.
“We have a duty to our residents to make sure they have proper housing, whether our own tenants or those who are renting privately,” he said.
“We work closely with landlords as the vast majority want the same thing – a decent property which is good for the tenant and provides them with rental income.
“Sadly this was not the case here, and in these instances we will not hesitate to take firm action – and issue fines using our powers – to clamp down on landlords who do not take care of their properties, and in turn their tenants.”
Dorval has 28 days to appeal the outcome to the Upper Tier Tribunal.