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Landlord fined for ignoring improvement notices

A landlord that refused to make safety improvements at two of her properties in Folkestone has been fined nearly £5,000.

Dangerous external steps

Madeleine Scott, of Allfarthing Lane in London, was served three housing improvement notices by Folkestone & Hythe District Council after officers identified deficiencies at properties belonging to her in Pavilion Road and Wiltie Gardens.

Concerns included the risk of falling on stairs, falling between levels, and fire safety. Issues with electrical problems and excess cold were also among those identified by officers.

But despite repeated reminders from the council and numerous attempts to communicate before deciding to seek prosecution, Ms Scott ignored the notices - contrary to the Housing Act 2004 - and was found guilty of three counts at Maidstone Magistrates' Court on 15 March 2021.

She was fined a total of £4,500 for the offences and ordered to pay £5,000 costs and a £170 victim surcharge - bringing the total bill to £9,760.

A Folkestone & Hythe District Council spokesperson said: "Our private sector housing team does not prosecute lightly - in fact, the last trial it was involved in before this was back in 2016 - and only considers this action as a last resort.

"But when a landlord refuses to work with us to ensure standards are met, we will not hesitate in bringing about criminal proceedings. We hope this conviction acts as a deterrent to any other landlords not taking their responsibilities seriously."

One of the properties has since been sold and will shortly be undergoing extensive refurbishment, while a flat with outstanding issues at the other location is currently unoccupied.

"We are working actively to ensure the remaining remedial works are carried as the health and safety of our residents remains one of our top priorities," a Folkestone & Hythe District Council spokesperson added.

Date published: 6 April 2021

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