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Rental Property Fire Leads To £20,000 Fine For Buy To Let Landlord

A former buy to let landlord has been fined £20,000 for risking the lives of his tenants after a rental property fire broke out last year.

Terry Mills, 62, placed the lives of his five tenants at risk after a fire broke out and tore through his rental property in Worthing, West Sussex. The rogue landlord admitted that he had a ‘high level’ of culpability for the blaze due to his failure to replace a faulty fire alarm in the property.

Brighton Magistrates Court was told that two people became trapped upstairs when the property fire broke out in the three-story Victorian house which had been converted into flats. Although the residents escaped without injury, one was taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

The court was told that the fire was caused by a cooking surface being left unattended. Chris Chatterton, defending Mills, argued that the cause was therefore ‘through no fault of Mr Mills.’

Prosecutor Michael Stoneham said: ‘West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service received a phone call to attend a fire in Portland Road. The watch manager noticed smoke issuing from the building and four of the residents were stood outside the property. The purpose of sentencing in this type of case is to protect the safety of individuals living in such premises’

District judge Tessa Szagun added: ‘[The fire] was in the process of spreading to the loft. It was ascertained that there were two people trapped inside on the second floor of the property due to the stairs being smoke logged.’

When sentencing the landlord, district judge Tessa Szagun said: ‘The purpose of sentencing in this type of case is to protect the safety of individuals living in such premises by ensuring that there is no financial gain by any person cutting corners. [There is] also a necessity to deter others from doing so.’

Due to his guilty plea, Mills’ £20,000 fine was reduced from an initial penalty of £30,000. However, he was also ordered to pay £1,743.47 costs to West Sussex County Council.

Source: Residential Landlord

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Landlord Ordered To Pay Compensation For Burning Tenants’ Possessions

A Wrexham buy to let landlord has been ordered to pay £12,000 in compensation after burning his tenant’s possessions when she fell behind with the rent.

Rogue buy to let landlord Tyrone Holmes, of Kensington Grove, in Box Lane, Wrexham, pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal damage levied on him at Mold Crown Court.

52-year-old Holmes had hired men to clear the flat that his tenant had been renting. They got rid of household furniture, clothing and electrical items.

Tennant Lydia Russell was shocked to return home to the flat, situated in Green Road, Brymbo, to find all of her possessions were gone. She received a text from her landlord that stated that her belongings had been removed from the flat.

Ms Russell had been residing in the property for six months but in recent times had fallen into rent arrears.

Holmes had instructed workmen to remove the possessions from the property. The jury at Mold Crown Court was told that when Ms Russell’s sister went to confront the landlord at his house ‘three big lads’ were standing outside near a white van and a flatbed truck.

The sister also saw two men burning items in the back garden. It appeared as though the items had been removed from the rented property. While serious rent arrears can be lawful grounds for eviction it does not justify the destructive and spiteful behavior exhibited by the rogue landlord in this case.

Prosecuting barrister Brett Williamson said: ‘Some of her property was dumped on the pavement outside and some of it was taken away. As a result, criminal damage was caused and she [the tenant] never saw some of her possessions again.’

Holmes plead guilty to the charges and the Judge Niclas Parry ordered the landlord to pay the compensation owed to Ms Russell by 31 October.

Source: Residential Landlord