Landlord fined £15,000 in long-running dispute

A UK landlord has been ordered to pay upwards of £15,000 over a series of worrying health and safety failings and a failure to comply with an improvement notice.

Leslie Winspear, Northampton, found himself facing a legal battle after his property was subjected to a housing inspection by Corby Council in 2015, which identified a number of ‘serious hazards’.

According to reports, inspectors discovered a catalogue of issues, including serious problems with the property’s sanitation and draining, electrical hazards and a broken boiler – meaning that the property had no functioning central heating system or hot water.

A water leak from the upstairs toilet had penetrated the ceiling, resulting in serious damp and mould downstairs, while inspectors also discovered a series of exposed live electrical wires.

Inspectors deemed the property unsafe for its tenants, who were abruptly rehoused, while Mr Winspear was served an Emergency Prohibition Order (EPO) with instructions to repair the property before the EPO could be removed.

The 84-year-old’s property was visited again in late 2016 – when it was revealed that Mr Winspear had breached the EPO by allowing new tenants to live in the property without rectifying any of the issues previously raised.

In January 2017, Mr Winspear was ordered to pay a fine of £3,500, costs of £706 and a victim surcharge of £350 upon pleading guilty.

Despite this, the landlord later appealed against the decision amid concerns that the amount he was ordered to pay was ‘excessive’, according to reports.

Mr Winspear’s appeal was heard on June 2017, where the original sentence was set aside after a Judge established that the 84-year-old landlord had failed to fully disclose his substantial rental income and capital assets to the Court.

As a result of this, he was ordered to pay a total of £15,452, made up of a £12,500 fine, a victim surcharge of £1,250 and costs of £1,702.

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.