Landlord fined for renting out uninhabitable outbuilding

We've successfully prosecuted a private landlord who rented out an uninhabitable outbuilding in Kings Langley.

Deborah King, of Rucklers Lane, Kings Langley was fined £4,000 for failing to comply with a Prohibition Order under the Housing Act 2004.

We were first notified of the outbuilding, in Rucklers Lane, after a complaint about an illegal eviction in 2021. After further investigations and a visit to the property, officers found the building, which had been converted into a self-contained unit and was being rented out. The building did not have planning permission or meet building regulation standards for residential use.

The unit had no fixed heating and inadequate insulation, a lack of ventilation and a number of other hazards meaning  it was unsuitable for habitation. A Prohibition Order was made on the property on 10 May 2022 (to come into force on 8 June 2022), prohibiting the use of the outbuilding for residential use.

A site visit carried out under warrant on 15 July 2022 found that the unit was still in occupation and communications with the landlord demonstrated that there would be no compliance in regard to the order. 

At the hearing at St Albans Magistrates' Court on Wednesday 1 March 2023, the landlord failed to attend and was found guilty in their absence and ordered to pay a fine of £4,000, costs of £1,784 and a victim surcharge of £190. 

Councillor Margaret Griffiths, our Portfolio Holder for Housing Services, said: “We are committed to raising the standards of the private sector in line with our commitments to ensure all residents of the borough have a safe home to reside in. This successful prosecution demonstrates the impact if a landlord is found not to be complying with regulatory requirements. Should a resident or a landlord have any concerns about housing standards or their obligations, I would encourage them to contact our Private Sector Housing Team.”