Portsmouth landlord fined almost £12,000 after renting out an unsafe student house

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A city landlord has been ordered to pay almost £12,000 after ignoring orders to stop letting an unsafe student house.

Portsmouth City Council acted after complaints from students renting the house, in St James’s Street, Portsea.

During an inspection, officers found a bedroom was too small to be used as sleeping accommodation, three bedsit rooms were too small to be used for sleeping and cooking facilities were sub-standard.

And the three bedsits and the cooking facilities could only be reached by an outside metal staircase.

As a result, the council prosecuted the landlord, JL Homes Ltd of Victoria Road South, Southsea, when it ignored two orders telling it not to relet the house until alterations had been made.

The company denied failing to comply with two housing prohibition orders and failing to provide the council with a copy of the tenancy agreement.

But Fareham magistrates found the company guilty on all three counts last Friday, with a fine of £3,000 for each offence.

It was also told to pay costs of almost £3,000.

Kirsty Mallinson, a housing standards officer at the council, said: ‘We will always work with landlords or agents to ensure that a property is safe to be used by the tenants.

‘In this case the landlords did not provide a suitable explanation of why they failed to comply with the orders, which gave us no alternative but to prosecute.’

Cllr Steven Wylie said: ‘We’re working hard to ensure that all private tenants in Portsmouth live in suitable and safe properties.

‘By taking this action, it places all landlords on notice. Make sure your properties are in good order or we will take whatever action is necessary.’