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Landlord couple ordered to pay £27,000 after renting property 'not fit for human habitation'

Husband and wife landlords whose tenants had to live with no heating, broken fire safety equipment and raw sewage outside their Northwood property have been ordered to pay £27,000.

Robin and Susan Kirstein, of Berkley Avenue, Greenford, were sentenced at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on 4 March, after each admitting offences contravening the Housing Act and the Building Act.

The court heard the property first came to the attention of Hillingdon Council following an inspection on 14 July 2020. “A leaking soil pipe was causing raw sewage to pool outside the front of the home, which in turn was causing outbreaks of flies inside the property and maggots outside the front door.”

The council served notice on the pair to remedy identified breaches. However, the Kirsteins ignored warnings, despite visits from council inspectors. A follow-up inspection in November 2020 showed the situation had not changed, “and in fact had possibly worsened”, Hillingdon said.

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A further inspection on 10 March 2021 revealed that improvement notices served by the council requiring the multitude of hazards to be fixed, had not been complied with, despite having a deadline of 1 January 2021

District Judge Wright described the property – a four-storey building with a shop on the ground floor and three flats on the upper floors – as “not fit for human habitation”.

Robin Kirstein admitted 13 offences at a hearing on 13 April 2021, including poor management of the property, lack of adequate waste facilities, lack of fire precautions and failure to provide information.

Susan Kirstein admitted 17 offences on 22 July 2021, including poor management of the property, lack of adequate waste facilities, lack of fire precautions, failure to provide information, failure to carry out works to the property and failure to carry out drainage works to ensure sanitary conditions.

On 4 March the defendants were sentenced to a financial penalty of £17,000 and ordered to pay the council's prosecution costs of more than £10,000.

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Housing and Regeneration, said: "This couple showed scant regard for the welfare of tenants who should quite rightly have an expectation of living somewhere that meets decent standards.

"This property not only fell well below that mark but was riddled with hazards and dangers that could have proved disastrous.

"This sentencing serves as a warning to any rogue landlords that we'll take tough measures to ensure homes in our borough are safe and suitable for the tenants."

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