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Absent landlord fined for leaving family without a boiler

AN ABSENT landlord will have to pay more than £9,000 in fines and costs after being convicted of failing to get licensed as a landlord following complaints by a tenant to the council about the state of their home.

Swansea Council Logo (Portrait)

The council stepped in after a family of six complained about damp in the property and a broken-down boiler in their home in Gerald Street, Hafod, owned by Lee Lovering from Heol Las, Birchgrove, Swansea.

Environmental Health Officers subsequently brought charges against Mr Lovering under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 for failing to register as a landlord, failing to be licensed to carry out letting and management activities and failure to comply with an Improvement notice under the Housing Act 2004 in relation to the damp and boiler problems.

District Judge Thomas, sitting at Swansea Magistrates Court, was told at a hearing on Tuesday (July 30) that Mr Lovering had initially been issued with a fixed penalty notice, which would have cost him £150, but that had not been paid. After an initial request for an adjournment Mr Lovering failed to turn up for court on three subsequent occasions and failed to contact the court, the council or the licensing authority, Rent Smart Wales to explain his situation.

On the third occasion District Judge Thomas found Mr Lovering guilty in his absence, but adjourned sentencing as he wanted Mr Lovering to appear before him to give an account of his means.

The court was told that the family living in the property in Hafod had moved in almost three years ago and had paid more than £20,000 in rent.

In court on Tuesday Mr Lovering was fined in his absence a total of £3,000 for the registration and licensing offences. He was also fined the maximum £5,000 for failing to comply with the notice to fix the boiler and damp problems.

The council was also awarded costs of £1,304 and a victim surcharge of £170 was imposed.

Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Housing and Energy at Swansea Council, said: "The law is there to protect tenants from private sector landlords who do not keep their properties in a fit and proper state for habitation.

"It is totally unfair that a family of six should be placed in such a predicament that they have to complain to the council about a landlord who does not do the basics right, such as providing a boiler that works and keeping their property free from damp.

"The message from the court and the council is that we will take enforcement action if landlords do not comply."

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