South Holland District Council offices in Spalding.

Landlord fined over safety breaches

A Spalding landlord has been hit with a £1,500 fine after a court found he had failed to address hazards posing a potential danger to life identified by South Holland District Council’s housing team.

Mervyn Henry Bull was handed the fine last week after an inspection of his property on Gore Lane in Spalding by the council found he had failed to fit opening limiters on an upstairs bedroom window, which he had previously been instructed to do due to the risk posed in its existing state. 

South Holland District Council first carried out an informal inspection of the property in February 2019 following a complaint received from the tenants.

The inspection uncovered seven specific items of concern and the landlord was informed and asked to address them.

A formal inspection was then carried out in July of the same year, when a number of these works were found to still be outstanding.

A formal improvement notice was served to the landlord and a category one hazard applied to the upstairs window as it was an immediate danger to life in its current state.

Mr Bull was given until October 3 to have all works completed but upon a re-inspection on October 9, the necessary safety limiter had still not been fitted, leading the council to impose a civil penalty for the failure to comply with the improvement notice.

The court were satisfied that the landlord was aware of his responsibilities and what work was required, and awarded a penalty for non-compliance with an improvement notice of £500, with an additional £1,000 penalty due to the severity of risk the defect posed. 

Coun Christine Lawton, South Holland District Council portfolio holder for housing and health welcomed the result, saying: “We take the safety and wellbeing of all of our residents extremely seriously.

“The failure of this landlord to make the requested improvements to his property to help protect his tenants and potential visitors was not acceptable and I am pleased that the court have taken appropriate action.

“Rented accommodation must provide a healthy and safe environment for tenants and anyone else connected to the property.

“The legislation and standards in place exist for a reason and I hope this sends a strong message that we will not hesitate to take action against anyone who does not comply with them.”

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