Solicitor left tenants living in squalor for five years
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal, Local Government
council housing rundown
A Stockport landlord has been criticised by a councillor after he left his tenants living in squalor for five years.
Cllr Gena Merrett, Salford City Council's assistant mayor for housing and environment, said that solicitor Marc Levy put the family living in his property through a nightmare by failing to carry out essential repairs.
The council took Levy to court after learning that his tenants had first asked him to carry out repairs on the Walkden property in 2009.
The family finally moved out last month with the repairs still outstanding.
Yesterday Levy pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an improvement notice served under the Housing Act, 2004. He was fined £300 and ordered to pay £1,539.26 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
The court heard that the letting agents started work after the 2009 complaint but then stopped. The family got in touch with the council in January 2012 to complain that they had had no contact with the landlord.
Housing officers who visited the house found that many of the single glazed timber window frames were rotting, making the house cold and damp, the bathroom and kitchen were in disrepair and needed modernising, radiators were not working and both the front and back doors to the house could not be opened without using considerable force.
Outside some guttering and paving around the drains was broken and timber sections were missing from the bay canopy.
Levy was asked to carry out improvements by the end of March 2012, but there was no response. The council served an improvement notice on him in May, requiring the work to be completed by mid-July but no action was taken and the house continued to deteriorate.
The landlord admitted he had “taken his eye off the ball” in relation to this property and focused his attention on other personal circumstances.
He regretted appearing in court but commented that he felt the repairs listed on the schedule of required works would not be the most pressing matter which the magistrates would come across.
He was told by the magistrates that he had a responsibility to his tenants.
Speaking after the case, Cllr Merrett said the council would be pursuing Levy to carry out the repairs without further delay as the improvement notice is still in force.
She said: “This landlord had five years to carry out essential repairs to create decent living conditions for his tenants. They lived in this damp and dilapidated house with rotting windows and no working radiators, while their neighbours were in warm, decent, modern homes. It’s about time he faced up to his responsibilities and we will do our best to make sure he does."
Our picture is a stock image and is not the property mentioned in the story.
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