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Landlord hit with £11,800 fine following city council investigation

Published: Monday, 20th November 2023

A Stoke-on-Trent landlord has been hit with an £11,800 fine for operating a house of multiple occupation (HMO) without a licence.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council launched an investigation into Lee Challinor in 2022 after receiving a complaint from the tenant who was living in the property on Liverpool Road in Stoke.

Following numerous visits, council officers found that the property was in a poor condition. The bathrooms failed to meet minimum standards and there was evidence of a fly infestation in the property, together with a build-up of waste and sludge in the backyard.

The council determined Mr Challinor had been operating a licencable HMO without a licence and breached a number of management regulations.

After pleading guilty to the charges, Mr Challinor received an £11,800 fine for both offences.

During the court hearing at Newcastle Magistrates Court on Thursday 16 November, Mr Challinor was also ordered to pay £2,000 costs and a £195 victim surcharge.

Councillor Chris Robinson, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning, said: “We work closely with private landlords in the city to ensure that their properties meet the minimum quality standards and ensure that they are operating within the law.

“When we do receive complaints, we take them extremely seriously and do not hesitate to take action. Bad landlords wreck lives and we are committed to putting a stop to that.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case and hopes it serves as a reminder to private landlords operating in Stoke-on-Trent of their responsibilities to provide safe, quality homes.

“If you are experiencing any problems with your privately-rented home, including any issues with damp, mould and disrepair, it is important that you get in touch with us and let us know.”

The city council’s private sector housing team is responsible for helping to improve the standard of private sector properties through education, advice, enforcement and grant assistance.

The team’s remit covers everything from investigating complaints, enforcing standards, licences for HMOs and working with owners to bring empty properties back into use.

To contact Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Private Sector Housing team email or call 01782 232087.