Landlord banned from renting out filthy ‘house of horrors’ infested with rats

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His tenants – a couple and their nine children – had to be moved out of the house and placed in emergency accommodation by a council this week. The property owner let the five-bedroom home in Elswick, Newcastle, fall into a “shocking” state.

Newcastle City Council, which is controlled by Labour, said the house had defective double glazing, missing balusters on the staircase which could cause trips and falls, leaking pipework, holes in the ceiling, damp, mould, insecure front and back doors, no hot water supply in the kitchen and no smoke detector in the ground floor hallway.

Investigators also found rats had also gnawed their way through electrical cabling, making the electricity supply unsafe and knocking out the heating system leaving the family with no heating or hot water.

The tenants were left with no option but to turn to the council after the landlord failed to respond to their requests to deal with the “serious disrepair and infestation,” reports Chronicle Live.

When the landlord failed to comply with requests by the council to carry out the repairs, the authority served him the prohibition order under the Housing Act 2004.

The property must now be refurbished to the council’s standards before it will even consider lifting the order and allowing the property to be rented out again.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Regulation, Coun Linda Hobson, said: “This is a shocking example of a landlord failing to fulfil his legal obligations. My heart goes out to the family who lived there and endured appalling living conditions.

“Thankfully they are now in accommodation that is clean, warm, and safe – not a lot to ask for in the 21st century it would seem, however, some landlords are failing in their duty of care to provide anything like decent living conditions.

“In Newcastle we are determined to raise standards in the private rented sector – a growing and increasingly important part of the housing market.

“We have worked with landlords, the vast majority of which are good, to introduce a property licensing scheme – but instances like this just underline the value of these schemes.

“Landlords, who fail to maintain basic living standards, should be aware that we won’t hesitate to step in and use our powers to stop them renting out their properties.”

The landlord could now face a court case and would be subject to an unlimited fine if he failed to comply with the order.

Newcastle City Council extended a property licensing scheme two years ago in a bid to raise living standards in the private rented sector.

Landlords are required to license each of their properties in designated areas, with the money raised going into raising standards, tackling anti-social behaviour and supporting both tenants and landlords.

It is estimated that more than 50,000 properties in Newcastle alone are privately rented, of which approximately 14,500 require a licence.

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