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Two-year buy to let ban after tenants' lives 'put at risk'

A man who rented out rooms above a town centre bar has been banned from being a buy to let landlord after putting the lives of his tenants at risk.

Dean Dunkley was also handed a £41,000 legal bill by magistrates after he was found guilty of a string of offences including obstructing the investigation carried out by Rugby council officers. 

Dunkley had responsibility for running AJ's Bar, a four-storey building. 

He was fined nearly £5,000 in April 2016 after pleading guilty to 25 offences under the Housing Act 2004 - a prosecution brought by the council after an inspection of the property revealed a catalogue of safety breaches and Dunkley failed to carry out repairs despite repeated warnings.

Following the prosecution, the council's housing enforcement team obtained a warrant to carry out a further inspection of the property in August.

A housing enforcement officer discovered various safety issues, including faulty fire doors, broken electric sockets, holes in windows and a fridge obstructing an emergency exit.

Other issues included a communal kitchen with no fire detection, broken emergency lighting and a WC with no door.

Following the inspection, the officer contacted Dunkley to ask who had responsibility for managing the property. He replied: "It's your job to find out."

Dunkley also failed to attend an interview under caution with the council, and failed to produce 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. Magistrates heard 15 tenants occupied the property's 10 bedrooms at the time of the inspection, and Dunkley was collecting an estimated £820 a week in rent.

Dunkley was found guilty of all 19 charges and was fined a total of £39,000 including £8,000 fines for operating a HMO without a licence and obstructing the council's investigation.

He was also ordered to pay £2,264 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

Magistrates also granted the council's application to issue Dunkley with a Criminal Behaviour Order which bans him from being involved in letting or managing a residential property for rent in the borough until May 2019.

In addition, the order states Dunkley must secure permission from the council before appointing an agent to let or manage a residential property on his behalf.

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