18 Dec 23

Landlords Shaun and Laraine xxxxx have pleaded guilty to four offences of breaching Prohibition Orders against human habitation at their properties in the Guildford area.

They were each fined a total of £500, £200 for the victim support fund and jointly ordered to pay £735 towards Guildford council’s legal costs.

Commented Phil Turtle, director of compliance services at Landlord Licensing & Defence, “At first sight the fines seem almost insignificant. These were not the council’s objective. There are two further moves in this game of chess that will really hurt. First the tenants are entitled to make a Rent Repayment order under s32 of the Housing Act 2904 to claim back 12 months’ rent which will be significantly more than the fines.

“However the ‘check-mate’ move is that the council has gained criminal conviction which allows them to apply to (with a 99% likelihood of success) the First Tier Tribunal for a banning order to take these people completely out of the landlording market. And that is the big prize for the council”

In March 2023, the council became aware the landlords’ one bedroom homes at Winnets in Smallfield, were in a poor condition. 

This included poor electrical installations, no heating and hot water, lack of smoke detectors, as well as doors with handles and locks missing, which meant they could not be secured. 

The council Environmental Health team served Improvement Notices on the couple and when these were not complied with, Prohibition Orders, which they breached when they continued to allow two homes to be occupied.  

A council spokesperson says: “We are delighted with this prosecution. These landlords did not comply with the order the Council issued and continued to allow their tenants to live in awful, unsafe conditions.“

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