A landlord fined £6000 for allowing residents to live in filthy conditions has raised concern amongst renters.
Mr. Antony Paul Martin was found guilty to not registering the shared house and breaching his management regulations in Eastbourne Magistrates Court on the 5th December.
The house concerned, 8 Upper Bevendean Avenue in Brighton was rented out as a shared property. The investigation got under whey due to Mr. Martin ignoring routine reminders of licensing. When entering the premises officers noted filthy living conditions which were a fire hazard, these included holes in the bedroom ceiling, no heating and no alarm system as just a few of the issues in breach of regulations.
21% of Brighton and Hove has privately rented properties which is higher than the national average and this has raised alarm amongst some in the renting community.
Student Megan Spillane, who currently rents a privately owned flat felt annoyed at the issue; ‘Landlords cut corners to save themselves money, my flat has little insulation, it’s very damp.’ Private renters are often considered dramatically cheaper than agencies, and for some, such as students, this may be the only option. ‘It’s probably better to go through an agency but going with a private landlord means you save money, and this puts renters at risk.’
Florence Meek, who is planning to rent a house in central Brighton later this year said ‘As a first time renter in Brighton, it is quite worrying to hear of conditions that awful and landlords allowing it. I’m keen to know why it took the council so long to intervene.’
Cllr Bill Randall, chair of the housing committee for Brighton and Hove, commented in a press release earlier this week “This prosecution underlines the need for licensing of HMOs [House in Multiple Occupation] which generally pose the biggest fire risks so that properties are inspected to protect the health and safety of residents.’’ The majority of Brighton’s houses pre-date 1919 and can therefore be difficult to heat and insulate properly. The council have said they are prepared to work with landlords to ensure they meet housing regulations and prosecute those who do not.