Rogue landlords who assume they can convert outbuildings into ‘sheds with beds’ have been reminded of the fines they can face following a shocking case in Hertfordshire.
56-year-old landlord and property investor Deborah King of Rucklers Lane, Kings Langley (main picture) was originally fined £4,000 for failing to comply with a Prohibition Order after she failed to attend court in March 2023.
This followed a visit by officers to the address on a leafy and well-to-do road from the local council two years before after a tenant living in the converted outhouse (main picture, inset) complained about an illegal eviction.
During the visit it was discovered that the building, which had been converted into a self-contained unit and was being rented out, did not have planning permission or meet building regulation standards for residential use.
A Prohibition Order preventing its use as a rental property was issued but which King ignored after it was found that a new tenant was living there. After being fined, King requested a reopening of the case, which the courts approved.
The first two hearings were adjourned at the landlord’s request. At the third hearing, at St Albans Magistrates' Court on Wednesday 25 October 2023, a further request for adjournment was submitted, but this was turned down.
The defendant failed to attend and was found guilty in her absence and ordered to pay a fine of £6,000, costs of £1,784 and a victim surcharge of £184. The total costs came to £7,968.
Dacorum council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Property Services, Councillor Simy Dhyani (pictured), says: “This prosecution sends a message to all those landlords who keep ignoring the regulations and trying to get away with renting out poorly managed properties.
“These enforcement actions will carry on helping our private tenants and install positive behavioural change in landlords."
Read more about Kings Langley.
Pic credits: Google Streetview/Rightmove