The landlord of a London flat is almost £18,000 worse off and has a criminal record after failing to make renovations to the property.
Paul Fenton, from Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty at Willesden Magistrates Court to offences under the Housing Act 2006, having failed to explain how the flat that he was letting for £1,000 per month had fallen into such a bad state.
The property in Cricklewood had such severe damp and mould growth that the chair of magistrates said it was not fit to live in. Amongst other problems, it also had a dilapidated, leaking boiler and a rotting front door.
After the flat’s tenant approached Brent council to complain about its condition, enforcement officers inspected the flat in August last year and found a series of deficiencies and hazards.
Fenton was issued with a formal demand from the council which required him to repair the damage within 56 days. Council officers returned to the flat in both January and May this year but the repairs had not been done.
Fenton, who has owned the flat since 1990, claimed he had not visited for some years and assumed the tenants were happy as they had not asked him for help with repairs. He claimed that he assumed that the cheap rent and the fact that he had allowed the tenants to break their tenancy agreement by keeping a dog and running a business from the flat meant that they were happy with the situation.
The court fined him £16,000 and ordered him to pay costs of £1,573 and a victim surcharge of £120 – a total of £17,693.
Fenton is appealing against his prosecution.