Private landlord’s unsafe homes land him with large fine

Published on Tue May 14 2024

A private landlord who let three of his properties fall into dangerous disrepair has been ordered to pay almost £14,000 after a court case brought by Burnley Council.

Preston Magistrates’ Court heard that David Waddington allowed vulnerable tenants to live in conditions that potentially caused a risk to their health and safety.

These included damp and mould, exposed electrical hazards, holes in the ceiling, excessive cold, and fire risk.

Waddington promised that essential repairs would be carried to the properties in Padiham, but in reality only carried out minor improvements and didn’t rectify the main issues of concern.

Waddington, whose last known address was in Pendleton, Clitheroe, admitted three offences of breaching improvement notices under the Housing Act 2004. He was fined £3,840 per property (a total of £11,520) and ordered to pay a £2,000 victim surcharge and £450 in costs.

A council spokesperson said: “After almost two years’ of investigation and serving legal notices on the landlord, we’ve finally seen some kind of justice for his tenants.

“They were all vulnerable in one way or another and were forced to live in such poor conditions that you could see the effect it was having on their health and well-being.

“The vast majority of private landlords care about the conditions their tenants live in and do their best to look after them. The message needs to get out that Burnley Council won’t tolerate those poor landlords that don’t care about their tenants and the sometimes appalling conditions they are forced to live in. We don’t want them in our borough.”

The court was told that council officers initially visited one of the properties after complaints were raised. The poor state of the house caused council officers to look at other properties owned by Waddington and similar issues were found in the other two houses.

Waddington was told to carry out a list of repairs on each of the three properties but on return visits the officers found that only relatively minor work had been carried out and there were still outstanding issues that needed addressing. He was subsequently served with improvement notices to carry out essential work on all the properties.

The court heard that Waddington had been given ample time to comply with the improvement notices but failed to do so. Some work was completed but major issues were left outstanding.

The council is working with contractors to carry out repair work to remove the hazards and make the houses safe.

Post expires at 9:09am on Wednesday August 14th, 2024