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Heavy fine for rogue landlord in Chesterfield

It was issued earlier this week at Northern Derbyshire Magistrates Court.

A Chesterfield landlord has been ordered to pay more than £17,000 after admitting to a “complete disregard” for housing legislation leaving tenants at risk of fire in a case brought by Chesterfield Borough Council.

Director Neil Bannister pleaded guilty on behalf of GKL Factsell Ltd, registered at an address in Newbold Road, of five offences which put tenants at a house in Fairfield Road, off Ashgate Road, at risk of fire.

Chesterfield Borough Council officers inspected the property, split into flats and bedsits, in July 2018 and found no working smoke alarms or self-closing fire doors in place.

The wiring in the property was old and unsafe, safety certificates for the gas and electricity installations were not provided to the council and the landlord had failed to place contact details in a prominent area of the house.

The landlord failed to comply with an improvement notice served by the council in August 2018. The council installed battery operated smoke alarms at the property in September 2018.

At the sentencing hearing on Monday 25 March at Northern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court, Chesterfield, magistrates said the company had shown “complete disregard for their statutory obligations” by putting residents and neighbours at risk by failing to have the appropriate health and safety equipment in place.

The court also found GKL Factsell Ltd had been evasive and unreliable and either reckless or negligent in failing to provide information and responses to the court or the council.

The company was ordered to pay a total of £17,741.78 in fines and costs.

Ian Waller, Chesterfield Borough Council’s assistant director – health and wellbeing, said: “One of the council’s key priorities is to improve the quality of life for local people and we will always act to keep residents safe – this applies to tenants in privately rented accommodation.

“Not content with failing to supply fire safety equipment including smoke alarms and fire doors, GKL Factsell also failed to comply with the improvement notices served by our officers to make good these faults and keep the tenants safe.

“This is clearly unacceptable and we will always take action against rogue landlords where necessary.”

Help and advice for private tenants is available from Chesterfield Borough Council’s private sector housing team on 01246 345748 or homeimprovementagency@chesterfield.gov.uk

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