A ROGUE landlord has lost an appeal and been fined for letting students live in a dangerous house.
JL Homes Ltd must now pay around £13,500 after a judgment the council said sends ‘a strong message’ to irresponsible owners of shared properties.
Portsmouth City Council took the company to court in October last year following complaints from students renting a house in St James’s Street, Portsea.
An inspection found one bedroom and three bedsit rooms were too small, the cooking facilities were sub-standard, and the three bedsits and cooking facilities could only be reached by an outside metal staircase.
The company, of Victoria Road South, Southsea, was told by magistrates to pay almost £12,000 after it ignored orders to stop letting the unsafe property.
It denied failing to comply with two orders and not providing the council with a copy of the tenancy agreement.
But it was found guilty on all three counts, with fines of £3,000 for each offence, and costs of almost £3,000.
The company appealed to Portsmouth Crown Court against the fines – but a judge has now upheld the convictions and increased costs to £4,500.
Cllr Steven Wylie, the council’s cabinet member for housing and a Portsea councillor, said he was pleased with the decision.
He said: ‘This case sends out a very strong message to rogue landlords who don’t maintain their properties properly and who leave tenants to put up with poor living conditions.
‘We’ll continue to take action against any landlord who puts tenants’ health at risk.’
Bruce Lomax, the council’s private sector housing manager, said: ‘We try to work with all landlords to resolve any issues concerning their properties, but on this occasion JL Homes didn’t co-operate and put students at risk.
‘We had no other option but to prosecute them, and then defend against the appeal.’