Worthing landlord fined for ‘unsafe property’

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A Worthng landlord has been fined £1,000 for poor and unsafe property management in Providence Terrace.

Adur & Worthing Councils legal department has successfully prosecuted Anthony McCall, on behalf of the council’s Private Sector Housing team. Mr McCall was fined just under £1,000 for poor and unsafe property management at Worthing Magistrates on Friday, December 18.

Mr McCall’s property had been the subject of many complaints by neighbours to both the police and Worthing Borough Council in respect of noise, drug taking and anti-social behaviour.

Mr McCall of Shelby Road, Worthing, did not respond to any attempts to address these complaints, so officers from Worthing Borough Council’s Private Sector Housing Team obtained a warrant to inspect the mid-terrace house in May 2015.

Officers found that the property was being run as a 5 bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO), but that there were inadequate fire safety precautions and detection, obstructed escape routes and a lack of maintenance of gas and electrical systems, as well as clear risks of falls from windows or stairs.

Mr McCall then failed to respond to any attempts by the Council to engage in efforts to improve conditions within the property. The Private Sector Housing team therefore referred the case to the Council’s legal section for prosecution for offences under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006.

On December 18, Mr McCall pleaded guilty at Worthing Magistrates Court to eight offences under the Regulations.

The court noted that the conditions within the house could have given rise to a devastating event if a fire had occurred, but chose to take account of Mr McCall’s pleas in mitigation that he was not a professional landlord and his financial means. He was fined £400 with council costs of £350, a victim surcharge of £40 and the criminal court charge of £150 for total to pay of £940.

Councillor Dr Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council Executive Member for Customer Services said: “These were conditions that could clearly have caused serious injury or death to tenants within the house. HMOs require good management to operate safely and this landlord has failed to take advantage of the help that has been offered to him.

“This is another successful case for our Private Sector Housing team who continue to work hard to improve conditions within the private rented sector and demonstrates that Worthing Borough Council cares about our residents and is committed to drive standards up within this important tenure.”

Further information on the work of the Council’s’ Private Sector Housing team can be found on the Adur & Worthing Councils website www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/housing or by calling 01903 221064 or by emailing environmental.support@adur-worthing.gov.uk.

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