Rogue Newmarket landlord who exposed tenants to ‘significant risk’ ordered to pay nearly £33,000

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street.

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A rogue landlord who exposed his tenants to “a significant risk of harm” has been ordered to pay nearly £33,000 after being found guilty in court.

Russell Wayne Price, 50, of Lisburn Road, Newmarket, was found guilty of 15 charges – 13 of which were under the Housing Act 2004 – following prosecution by Forest Heath District Council.

The remaining two charges related to Price’s failure to provide information about the properties when requested. He had denied all the charges at an earlier hearing.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard that the charges related to two properties in Lisburn Road, Newmarket, that Price let as Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Both properties were subject to Prohibition Orders served in 2008 and 2010, banning them from being used as HMOs.

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Housing officers inspected both properties on December 14 last year and found safety concerns – including a lack of sufficient fire detection and escape routes, a lack of gas or electrical safety certificates for either property, and a loose electrical socket.

Neither property was deemed to be up to a suitable standard of living conditions while exposed pipework, stairs without a handrail, damp and mould were also discovered.

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Following a three-day trial, Price was found guilty of all 15 charges on Wednesday.

District Judge Timothy King said: “There was a significant risk of harm to individuals.”

He added that Price had cut corners and ordered him to pay charges and fines totalling £25,900. Price must also pay the council’s costs in bringing the prosecution which brought the total to £32,980.

Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, Forest Heath’s cabinet member for housing, 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.”

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