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£29,000 fine for landlord who also acted as letting agent

A buy to let investor has been fined £29,200 after being prosecuted for 56 offences in what a local authority describes as its biggest ever case against a rogue landlord.

John Cashin was found guilty at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court having already been prosecuted last November for 27 offences and ordered on that occasion to pay £7,200.

For the most recent offences the court heard that five properties in Sheffield were all badly managed by Cashin who failed to maintain any means of escape and fire alarm systems in any of the properties and failed to provide copies of gas safety and electrical condition reports.  

Other problems included broken windows, badly fitting external doors and safety defects.

In addition four of the properties should have been licensed as HMOs but no applications were ever received by the council.

The authority served many notices to Cashin requiring information and documents but they were all ignored.

Speaking after the court case one former tenant, Yasmin Wong who lived in Cashin’s property on Glover Road for two months earlier this year, said: “The guy ruined my life.  It was horrible and the house was a complete disaster – three or four windows were broken so it was completely freezing. And there were times when we had no electricity for three or four days and he didn’t care. I was alone and didn’t have anyone in Sheffield or know what to do. In the end I left. It was two months of hell.”

Sheffield City Council has been investigating Cashin for months after concerns about him were first raised by property owners and tenants.

One property owner who used Cashin as a letting agent for a home in Highfield, and wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I entered a yearly contract with him where he’d sub-let the property. He wasn’t paying rent on time and when the year ended and I wanted my house back, he wouldn’t give it and said I’d have to take him to court."

The government introduced mandatory licensing in 2006 as a control over most large houses likely to be at risk, those occupied by five or more people on three or more storeys.  This will shortly be extended to all HMOs occupied by five or more people.  

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