Rogue landlords fined £30k after Lincoln house raid uncovers squalid conditions

Irresponsible landlords who allowed unthinkable overcrowding and a catalogue of health and safety breaches at their Lincoln property have been fined more than £30,000.

City of Lincoln Council officers uncovered more than a dozen hazards including serious overcrowding when they raided the home in the Sincil Bank area of Lincoln.

Boston based Balt Properties Ltd, its Managing Director Vytautas Sidlauskas and Manager Valdas Kakta, were each found guilty of 14 offences relating to mismanagement at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court this week and fined a total of £29,090.

Magistrates described the case as ‘very serious’ and stated that Balt Properties Ltd had ‘failed in its duty to adequately protect and provide for its tenants.’

Furnishings were broken and dangerous in the property, like this questionable bannister.

Furnishings were broken and dangerous in the property, like this questionable bannister.

City of Lincoln Council Housing Enforcement Officers carried out the raid at 99 Scorer Street on March 9 this year as part of a crackdown on poor quality rental housing in the city.

This was funded by a £96,000 grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Doors in the property were padlocked from the outside.

Doors in the property were padlocked from the outside.

After initially being denied entry, officers found a raft of serious health and safety breaches, including broken and missing smoke alarms, loose banisters and overcrowding.

Eight tenants shared one kitchen and bathroom, while fire escapes were blocked by furniture and doors padlocked from the outside.

Furniture was blocking doorways in the house.

Furniture was blocking doorways in the house.

The penalties were:

  • Balt Properties Ltd – £12,040 fine (£860 for each offence); £500 costs; £86 victims’ surcharge = £12,626
  • Vytautas Sidlauskas – £10,050 fine (£750 for each offence); £500 costs; £75 victims’ surcharge = £11,075
  • Valdas Kakta – £7,000 fine (£500 for each offence); £500 costs; £50 victims’ surcharge = £7,550

The total penalty was £31,251, comprising fines totalling £29,090, victim surcharges of £211 and a contribution to the city council’s legal costs awarded in full, totalling £1,500.

David King, Rogue Landlords Team Leader, said: “This property has been mismanaged to such a degree it represents a real and present danger to the tenants from numerous hazards: there is inadequate fire safety, an inadequate fire warning system, an inadequate means of escape, inadequate electrical safety, inadequate hygiene and bathing facilities, overcrowding, inadequate food preparation and storage facilities, and tripping and lighting hazards in common areas of the premises.

“Taken together, these add up to a dangerous building containing numerous accidents waiting to happen.

“By not taking action to remedy these defects, the defendants took advantage of the occupiers, taking considerable sums in rent while leaving them in sub-standard and dangerous accommodation.”

Councillor Pete West, Portfolio Holder for Housing, added: “This is an excellent result that shows how seriously the court treats cases of sub-standard housing.

“In this case the landlords had failed to meet a series of basic health and safety regulations, putting the lives of tenants and those living close by at risk.

“The Rogue Landlords Team has done an extremely worthwhile job in checking the quality of homes and ensuring landlords take the necessary action to bring their properties up to an acceptable standard.”