10 Jan 24

A London council has prosecuted a landlord for failing to carry out repairs on his property and causing a severe health risk to tenants.

Watford council responded to reports from a family living in hazardous conditions with their three young children. It was found that large parts of the property were not safe to be lived in – especially the three young tenants, with those under 14 particularly vulnerable to mould.

The owner of the property and landlord – known only as Mr Smith – was informed that Improvement Notices would be issued to highlight the works that needed to be urgently carried out in specific areas of the property. 

Due to the amount of mould in the children’s bedroom and the danger it posed to their health, the council served an Emergency Prohibition order, preventing the room from being used until the repair works had been completed.

Despite the Improvement Notice being issued, Smith failed to carry out any of the works outlined, and the council took legal action. 

Smith has now been fined a total of £10,451.

A council spokesperson says: “Landlords neglecting their responsibilities will not be tolerated. Everyone deserves to live in a safe, warm home. We have taken decisive action to bring some justice for the family involved, but the story is a shocking one and very sad indeed to hear how the children were so badly affected. We are doing everything we can in Watford to protect our residents and we will keep protecting tenants in situations like this.

“I think at the centre of the matter, it’s truly horrible to see a family living in such terrible conditions. Watford Council stands firm in its commitment to safeguarding the wellbeing of our residents, especially in this case where there were young children involved, the most vulnerable group to be affected by mould spores.”

The family have now left the property and the council has placed a prohibition that prevents the landlord renting to other tenants until the required works have been carried out and assessed by an Environmental Health team.

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