A COLLAPSING ceiling, filthy facilities, and an abandoned car were among the dangerous defects that have seen a landlord receive financial penalties totalling £20,000.

They were among the dozens of breaches uncovered when Cherwell District Council’s housing standards team made unannounced inspections at two houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) last year.

The Banbury landlord, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has a history of non-compliance with housing law and is now being added to the rogue landlord database. They could face a banning order if they reoffend.

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The faults were 'wide-ranging and detrimental' to the quality of life for both the occupants and neighbours.

The gardens of both the houses were overgrown with blocked drains and unsightly piles of household and construction waste.

At one of the houses, a car was left unattended for four years and inside, a poorly designed shower was causing the windowsill to rot and ceiling below to collapse.

Oxford Mail:

At the other house, broken windows and broken fire doors were found.

Councillor John Donaldson, Cherwell's lead member for housing, said: “This is the highest financial penalty we have ever imposed on a landlord. It is not a decision we have taken lightly, and indeed it is quite extraordinary that officers found 54 breaches at just two properties.

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“Over the last 20 years we have tried many informal and formal ways of trying to get this individual to bring their properties up to scratch. The sheer number of officer hours devoted to this is a big part of why the penalties now meted out have to be this severe.

“HMO management regulations impose strict duties upon landlords to keep their properties clean, safe and in good repair. While the vast majority of landlords are meeting those obligations, this is a very firm warning to any other rogue landlords out there that cutting corners will end up costing them in the end.”

Oxford Mail:

The enforcement was taken for offences under the Housing Act 2004 and the landlord has agreed to pay the penalties following a lengthy investigation and appeals process.

The previous highest financial penalty imposed on a landlord by Cherwell was £8,000.

Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, councils can issue landlords with fines instead of prosecuting in appropriate cases.

Since Cherwell adopted this approach in 2018, more than £43,000 worth of penalties have been levied.

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Anyone who is concerned about the condition of their rented home should email the council on housing.standards@cherwell-dc.gov.uk or call 01295 227004.