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homeThursday 23rd November 2017

Rugby landlord handed £41K bill and two-year ban

Katie Coyne17/05/2017 - 13:10

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EHPs found a catalogue of failings
EHPs found a catalogue of failings

A rogue Rugby landlord has been ordered to pay £41,000 and given a two-year borough wide ban for a string of offences under the Housing Act.

Dean Dunkley ran AJ's Bar, a four-storey building in Dunchurch Road, and rented out the rooms above without a HMO licence.

Mr Dunkley, 41, was found guilty of 19 charges and was fined a total of £39,000. He was also ordered to pay £2,264 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

At the time of the council investigation Mr Dunkley was estimated to have been collecting £820 a week in rent from the 15 tenants living across the property’s ten bedrooms.

The investigation came about as Mr Dunkley had been previously prosecuted by the council, following its discovery of a catalogue of safety breaches that he failed to put right despite warnings.

In April last year the council took him to court and Mr Dunkley pleaded guilty to 25 offences under the Housing Act and was fined £5,000.

Following this prosecution the council’s housing enforcement team obtained a warrant last August to search the property and carry out a further inspection of the property.

A housing enforcement officer then found a host of safety issues, including faulty fire doors, broken electric sockets, holes in windows and a fridge obstructing an emergency exit. A communal kitchen had no fire detection, and there was broken emergency lighting and a WC with no door.

The housing officer contacted Mr Dunkley to ask who was responsible for managing the property and was told, ‘it’s your job to find out’.

Mr Dunkley failed to attend an interview under caution with the council and failed to provide gas and electricity safety certificates, and a fire detection alarm certificate, for the property.

His case was heard in his absence at Nuneaton Justice Centre on 2 May. Magistrates issued a Criminal Behaviour Order banning Mr Dunkley from being involved in letting or managing a residential property in the borough until May 2019.

The order also requires that Mr Dunkley must secure permission from the council before appointing an agent to let or manage a residential property on his behalf.

The total £39,000 fine included £8,000 for operating a HMO without a licence and a further £8,000 for obstructing the council’s investigation.

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.’

Total breakdown of the fines/costs 

  • Failure to comply with the Category 1 hazard personal hygiene and fire £4000 each  =  £8000
  • Breach of Regs 4(1)(a) and  (b), 4(2) and 4(4)(c) £1000 each   =  £4000
  • Breach of Reg 7(1)(b) £1000  =   £1000
  • Unlicensed HMO =   £8000
  • Obstruction charge = £8000
  • Breach of Regs 4(2), 6(1) and 6(3)(c) (October offence dates) £1000 each  =   £3000
  • Failure to comply with the Category 2 hazards £1000 each  =  £7000

 

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