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Fine after improvement notice on rented home was partly ignored

A rented home in Mansfield was found to have serious health and safety hazards, including a leaking roof and a lack of smoke detectors, a court has been told.

In a case brought before Mansfield Magistrates by the town’s council, landlord Fiona Needham was convicted under the Housing Act 2004. 

She had previously pleaded not guilty to the allegation and was due to be tried on the matter, but changed her plea to guilty. 


She was fined £1,060 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100 and full prosecution costs of £1,551.85. 

The court was told the landlord had failed to comply with an improvement notice issued by the council, whose officers inspected the property after receiving a complaint of disrepair in April last year. 

They found serious hazards that would affect the health and safety of the tenant, her young child and any visitors. 

These included inadequate fire detection systems, an insufficient number of (and faulty) power sockets, a risk of falling due to lack of light switches, a boiler that was not heating the property sufficiently, damp and mould where the roof was leaking, and escape windows on the first floor without appropriate safety catches. 

There were informal attempts to persuade Needham to carry out improvements but no work was done so officers served an improvement notice in June 2018. 

They revisited the property and found that while the roof had been replaced and the electrical system checked, the smoke alarms were not connected. 

The magistrates heard that a significant fire safety risk remained at the property and that the council was considering carrying out the works needed and recharging Needham.

In mitigation, Needham’s solicitor told the court that his client accepted she had not done enough to get the work done, but said that tradesmen had not always been allowed in to the property.

  • icon

    Funny how 'the tradesmen' were not always allowed in the property! Oink oink - there flies another one.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 11 November 2019 10:23 AM

    Typical of tenants who created the problem of not allowing tradesman to go into property to do the job just to get compensation or rent off. This is the problem when you got the court, council all rallying on the tenant side. Moreover, this is not a hmo. Why are the council involve when it is rented to family. From the above, everything was done except that the smoke alarm is not connected?? connected to what? If the council not clearly specified to fiona that the alarms have to be wired throughout the house, how is she suppose to know? She should have show picture and proof that there is smoke and fire alarm to mitigate her case. Once jobs done, i failed to see why they need to sue her. The court failed to see mitigating factors when it comes to landlords. They cant expect tradesman to always go by the whim of the tenants. Magistrates are not legally train and dont always make impartial and fair decisions.when the case are brought by authorities in realation to tenants. They dont have the insights needed to ensure council do not abuse their power or overstep their power. where can we find the powers the council have? nobody seem to know. Even with council, tax, they wont tell you how they charge if got 1 working professional and 1 students. insist tell them who lives in property and they will decide how to charge. I thought transparency is the key but not where council is concern in this town.

  • icon
    • 11 November 2019 10:52 AM

    No wired detectors are required unless a new build property from about 12 years ago.
    This is basic stuff any council should know.
    Obviously HMO are a different matter.

    S l
    • S l
    • 11 November 2019 22:11 PM

    True . That is what i meant that the council is abusing their power or charging when they have no power to do so.
    This case is a family rented home. not hmo. Therefore the council really have no power over the property isnt it? The council wont even tell us where they get the power to act the way they did and every council have different opinions and rules again. This is so ridiculous. No uniformity at all and we are at the mercy of the council


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