A Landlord has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay a further £5,700 in costs and victim surcharge after he failed to tackle serious hazards in a property he was renting out in Whitehall Road, Retford.
Bassetlaw District Council brought a prosecution against John Bragasik, of Meadow View, Big Lane, Clarborough, at Mansfield Magistrates Court on 12th September 2019 where Mr Bragasik pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an improvement notice served under the Housing Act 2004.
The Court heard how Bassetlaw District Council was contacted by a Health Visitor who had concerns for the tenant and her children, including a nine-week-old baby who had been hospitalised with bronchitis. Following a visit by a Council Environmental Health Officer, a number of hazards were identified in the property including excess cold, fall hazards on the stairs, electrical hazards and fire risks. The property suffered from uncontrollable draughts, missing radiators, an obsolete electric consumer unit with no residual current device protection, missing internal doors and defective floorboards at the top of the stairs.
The Council wrote to Mr Bargasik on the 12th December 2018 enclosing a schedule of works to be completed within 28 days. On the 10th January 2019, with no works undertaken and no contact from the Landlord, the Council carried out a formal inspection of the property under Section 239 of the Housing Act 2004. Using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), the inspection revealed a number of category 1 and 2 hazards. These are hazards that have the ability to impact upon the health, safety and wellbeing of occupants and visitors to a dwelling.
On the 15th January 2019 the Council served an Improvement Notice under Section 11 and 12 of the Housing Act 2004. A subsequent inspection of the property on 5th March 2019 found that no works had been carried out. On the 8th April 2019, Mr Bargasik was invited to the Council Offices for a voluntary interview under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, but failed to attend or even respond to the Council. The Landlord’s refusal to carry out any works and engage with the Council left the Authority no option but to proceed with a prosecution.
In sentencing, District Judge Taaffe remarked that this was a wholly avoidable situation and the property was a disgrace. He further commented that defects were material, there was a fire hazard and they could have contributed to the ill health of a child.
Councillor Simon Greaves, Leader of Bassetlaw District Council said:
“Landlords have a duty to ensure that the properties they rent out are safe and fit for purpose and that the wellbeing and safety of tenants are not at risk. There were many opportunities for the Landlord to carry out the works needed, avoid court and provide a safe property for his tenant and her children. I’d like to praise the excellent work of our Environmental Health Officers in successfully pursuing this case.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, September 17, 2019