A North West-based property landlord, who has been described as “despicable” by a Scarborough councillor, has been fined £24,000 after being found guilty of 18 offences relating to the poor management of property he owns and rents out in the town.
Gary Fixter of Hoole Lane, Chester was prosecuted by the council for a series of management failures in flats at 4/5 Leading Post Street, Scarborough, which he lets out as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).
At the hearing, which took place at Scarborough Magistrates' Court on November 4, Fixter’s failure to adequately maintain the electrics within the building and allow dangerous live wires to be exposed in the common areas, which could have resulted in the death or serious injury of his tenants, were just two of the most serious failings brought before magistrates, along with a number of other breaches, which included:
* Failure to ensure that internal fire doors within the property were adequately maintained
* Failure to ensure that there was suitable fire detection within the building
* Failure to routinely test the fire alarm
* Failure to undertake repairs to the common parts of the property and ensure they were kept in a reasonable decorative condition
* Failure to tackle problems with penetrating damp within the building
* Failure to ensure that windows were adequately maintained.
The magistrates had no hesitation in handing the substantial fine to Fixter and ordering him to pay a further £18,000 in costs to the council.
Both the fine and costs are payable within 28 days of the hearing.
Andrew Rowe, Scarborough Borough Council Housing Manager said: "This property is one of the worst we have seen within our borough for many years.
"As a landlord, Mr Fixter has shown scant regard for the well-being or health and safety of his tenants, many of whom are vulnerable.
"The property has been left to fall into a filthy and dangerous condition.
"Essential repairs have not been undertaken and fire safety has been compromised. It is not acceptable that rogue landlords should exploit vulnerable people in this way and we shall not hesitate to take firm legal action when cases like this one arise.”
Cllr Bill Chatt, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Housing added: “I am pleased but sadly not surprised with the result of this prosecution, given the sheer weight of evidence, some in the form of very telling images, which was presented to the magistrates.
"Any landlord who gets prosecuted for this kind of thing is despicable and I stand by what I said in our Full Council meeting this week; bad landlords deserve everything they get.”