Rogue landlord fined £20k for unlicensed Lincoln home

A landlord has been found guilty of operating an unsafe and unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) in Lincoln.

Dennis Alfred Goodwin of Highbury, London, was taken to court by City of Lincoln Council for an unlicensed HMO at 9 Portland Street in the city.

The address was deemed dangerous by a district judge for failing to comply with a number of safety breaches.

Goodwin pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 and one charge of operating an unlicensed HMO.

Unsafe electrics. Photo: City of Lincoln Council

Smoke seals on fire doors had been covered in paint, preventing the seals from functioning in stopping smoke and fire spreading.

None of the three fire extinguishers in the house had been serviced since February 2016, when this should be done annually.

Obstructed exit door by broken curtain rail and poor decorative state. Photo: City of Lincoln Council

There was also a curtain that had broken and obstructed an exit door.

A window was also broken in a room that was occupied by a couple who had a one-year-old child.

Broken window pane in reach of the toddler. Photo: City of Lincoln Council

The judge told Goodwin that: “If you intend to be a landlord you need to up your game.”

In passing sentence, the judge said that the tenants were living in ‘totally unacceptable’ conditions, all of which the landlord was aware of, and that ‘people could have died’.

Goodwin was fined £17,000; plus a Victim Surcharge of £170; plus costs of £3,000, totalling £20,170 at the hearing on 13 August, 2020.

Cllr Donald Nannestad at City of Lincoln Council said: “We take the safety of our residents very seriously, and this court ruling shows that there’s no place to hide for rogue landlords in Lincoln.

“I would like to thank the Legal and Private Housing teams at City of Lincoln Council for all of their hard work on this case and in ensuring such a significant outcome.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, private landlords must continue to make sure their properties are safe, that gas and electrical checks are up to date, and that the communal areas of shared houses are kept clean.”

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