A company which failed to declare its interest in a property which had health and vermin risks has been ordered to pay more than £1,800.
Durham County Council had reason to inspect a house in Horden in August last year following concerns around the state and condition of the rear yard.
Waste materials had accumulated, there was a blocked drain gully and incomplete waste
provision to allow for proper drainage, resulting in a risk to health.
A council tax search highlighted Front Worth Limited, of Pinfold Street, Birmingham, to be
the owner of the property, with these details being later confirmed by a Land Registry
A notice under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act, requiring the owner to carry out
works to keep the land and property free from vermin, was served by the authority but was
not responded to.
A separate response, however, was received from an individual who stated that the
property did not belong to Front Worth Limited and that it had been sold some time ago.
As there was clear evidence it was the registered proprietor, officers served a separate
notice, requiring the company to state, in writing, the nature of its interest in the property in
Horden within 14 days.
Given the health and vermin risks presented by the state of the yard, it was important for
the council to have this information. However it is yet to receive a reply and has not been
able to progress the matter.
The case was heard in the defendant’s absence at Peterlee Magistrates Court, where the
company was fined £1,100 and ordered to pay £300 costs and a £440 victim surcharge,
Owen Cleugh, Durham County Council’s public protection manager, said: “All landlords
have a duty to follow the necessary guidance and ensure appropriate work is carried out to
their properties to help protect the health and safety of tenants and communities.
“While the majority of landlords work with us to ensure this remains the case, we hope this
prosecution serves as a warning to the minority who fail to comply with instructions. This
behaviour will not be tolerated and we will always take action where necessary.”