Six ‘rogue’ Thanet landlords fined for unsafe housing offences

Thanet council

Six Thanet landlords have been prosecuted for housing-related offences and been ordered to pay a combined total of more than £32,000 in fines after Thanet council brought prosecutions against them.

On Monday, June 4, in a case heard by Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, two Leicester-based landlords, Nathaniel Jalal and Milka Jalal both of Hollow Tree Road, Leicester, were charged with failing to apply for a selective licence. They pleaded not guilty in respect of a flat in Northdown Road, Margate, despite several requests from the council to licence the property.

The Magistrates found them both guilty and handed out fines of £6,000 and £3,000. They were also ordered to pay a victim surcharge totalling £340 and contribute £896 towards the council’s prosecution costs.

On Tuesday, June 5 a London based landlord, Bharatkumar Patel of Bethune Avenue, was found guilty of failing to apply for selective licences in respect of two flats in Athelstan Road, Margate. The cases were heard at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court and resulted in a £600 fine with a further £120 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

On Tuesday, June 12, three cases were brought before Canterbury Magistrates’ Court.

The first defendant, Stuart Gillespie of Pegotty Close, Essex, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a valid gas safety certificate for a property in Ethelbert Terrace, Margate as required by his selective licence. The Magistrates ordered the landlord to pay a fine of £1,000 with £120 costs and a victim surcharge of £170.

The second defendant, Stefano Draper of  Margate, also pleaded guilty for failing to apply for a selective licence in respect of a property in Surrey Road, Margate. The Magistrates fined him £2,000. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and contribute £120 towards the council’s costs.

Wigmore Residential Ltd, the third defendant, failed to appear before Canterbury Magistrates’ Court when faced with multiple charges in respect of a property in Fort Paragon, Margate. The company was charged with failing to comply with the conditions of a selective licence, failing to comply with an Improvement Notice and failing to comply with the Houses in Multiple Occupation Management Regulations.

The Magistrates found the defendant guilty on all counts and fined Wigmore Residential Ltd a total £20,000. The council was awarded £120 in costs and the company was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170.

Cllr Lesley Ann Game, Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “Rogue landlords who operate unsafe and illegal properties in Thanet will not be tolerated. Thanet District Council has prosecuted over 50 landlords over the last few years and will continue to crack down on those who make tenants’ lives a misery. This should be a warning to other landlords who fail to provide safe homes for the people of Thanet and who choose to operate outside the law.”

Thanet District Council operates a selective licensing scheme in certain parts of Cliftonville. Unless subject to exemption, all privately rented properties in the designated area must be licensed. The scheme was introduced to help improve management standards in the private rented sector and to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of tenants.