Thursday, 3 October 2013

Landlord Fined For Failing To Deal With Dampness And Disrepair

In October 2012 a complaint was received by the Residential Team in Environmental Health regarding poor housing conditions at 16 Jackson Road Cambridge. An inspection of the property found that the house was affected by dampness and disrepair. The Council attempted to work with the landlord and his managing agent to resolve the issues but when insufficient progress had been made after two months, an improvement notice was served on the landlord, Mr Akif Karliga, on 2nd January 2013. The notice specified that the works were to be completed no later than 22nd March 2013.

When 16 Jackson Road was inspected on 3rd April 2013, it was found that the majority of the works required by the notice had not been completed. Mr Karliga of Berkeley Gardens, London, was therefore prosecuted by Cambridge City Council for failure to comply with the improvement notice.

At the initial hearing on 22nd August 2013, Mr Karliga pleaded not guilty on the grounds that the tenant had not provided access for the works to be carried out, and therefore he had reasonable excuse for failure to comply with notice.

At the subsequent trial on 1st October 2013, Mr Karliga sought to pass responsibility for compliance with the notice to his managing agent, Anglia Accommodation, and to continue to blame the tenant for not providing access to the property.

Mr Karliga was found guilty of failing to comply with the notice without reasonable excuse as he had not taken all reasonable steps to enforce his tenancy agreement, and it was also found that he could not delegate his responsibility for compliance to his managing agent. He was fined £1,500, and the Council’s costs of £2,400 were awarded against him.

Cllr Catherine Smart, Executive Councillor for Housing, said “This case shows that landlords must take their legal responsibilities seriously. They must ensure that their properties are maintained in good order or formal enforcement action will be taken. The City Council will not ignore the risk to those living in the city from poor housing conditions. Tenants should report disrepair to the Council if they are not able the resolve things with their landlord."

All landlords must be aware that they face serious consequences if they fail to maintain their property in good repair. Landlords or tenants who would like further information about the maintenance or management of their properties should contact the Residential Team on 01223 457900, or come into the Customer Service Centre in Mandela House, Regent Street, Cambridge.