Landlords must only rent out safe properties

by Sarah Ashcroft

Landlords around the country must recognise the fact that safety is of paramount importance when it comes to renting out a property.

It's simply unacceptable to sign a contract with a new tenant in the knowledge that a home is unsafe or hasn't been put through all of the necessary checks and inspections. Instead, landlords should only rent out a property once they are sure that it's fit for purpose.

One landlord in Devon has fallen foul of residential letting regulations and has been fined £4,000 after being found to have rented out an unsafe place to live.

Curtis Betteridge was the subject of a prosecution by Teignbridge Council after it carried out an inspection and asked him to make changes, which he subsequently failed to achieve, reports the Herald Express.

Mr Betteridge was given an improvement notice and told that he had to complete work that would bring the property in line with the latest rules on fire and safety. It's the first time that the council has been forced to take court action against one of its landlords.

The flat owned by the landlord is actually classified as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), which means that it's subject to further regulations and the landlord must meet extra obligations. In particular, fire and safety responsibilities are substantial in HMOs.

Mr Betteridge must now pay a significant fine as punishment for failing to comply with the terms of the improvement notice and his case may be a warning sign for others.

Councillor Philip Vogel, Teignbridge Council's executive spokesperson for housing and planning, said: "Many landlords manage their properties really well and do not need our help; others may be inexperienced and turn to us for help and advice and that is something we are more than happy to give.

"We run regular one-day landlord training courses, covering all aspects of letting including how to set up, manage and end a tenancy."ADNFCR-1645-ID-801669932-ADNFCR

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Published on: December 6, 2013

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