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£9,000 bill for letting flat in contravention of Prohibition Order

A landlord faces a bill of over £9,000 for putting his tenants at risk of harm.

Jack Kensell of Folkestone was prosecuted in connection with a one bedroom ground floor flat he lets out in the town.

The property includes a large storage area in the basement. In response to a complaint during a previous tenancy, Shepway council served an Emergency Prohibition Order preventing the use of the basement rooms as living accommodation, because there were no means of emergency escape.

The landlord failed to inform subsequent tenants about the prohibition. New tenants, who were expecting a baby, were using the rooms as bedrooms for themselves and their young child, when they contacted the council about damp. 

The tenants were clear that Kensell had not passed on the information that the rooms were not to be used in this way, but had rented the flat on the understanding that they were bedrooms. Shepway council advised the tenants of the risks and that they should not use the basement as planned. 

The local authority says Kensall failed to support his claim that he had told the tenants not to use the basement for sleeping during the investigation and subsequent trial. 

Kensall was found guilty of two charges: Breach of Emergency Prohibition Order contrary to section 32(1)(b) Housing Act 2004 and Failure to Provide Information contrary to Section 236 Housing Act 2004. He received a £5,000 fine and was ordered to pay £4,111.04 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

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