Published: 10:40, 11 December 2018
| Updated: 10:51, 11 December 2018
A buy-to-let property tycoon has been fined £10,000 for failing to comply with an enforcement notice ordering her to supply hot water to a disabled tenant.
Judith Wilson, 68, wife of controversial landlord Fergus Wilson, 70, has also been ordered to pay legal costs of almost £15,000 after appearing at Folkestone Magistrates' Court.
Ashford Borough Council (ABC) served the notice after Mrs Wilson’s ex-tenants, one of whom is wheelchair bound, alleged hot water to the upstairs of their property was faulty over a five-month period.
After finding Wilson guilty at a hearing in November, District Judge Justin Barron had ordered her to return to court for sentencing today.
In addition to the fine, Judge Barron ordered Judith Wilson to pay ABC’s legal costs in full. She has eight weeks to pay.
In a previous hearing, prosecutor Sophie Gray accused her of “fabricating” attempts to restore a boiler and showing “clear disregard” for tenants Mark Manser, who uses a wheelchair, and partner Sarah Manser.
However, defence barrister Ben Leb argued Mr and Mrs Manser denied Mrs Wilson access to the property in Kingsnorth and caused damage to the water system, causing the home to flood.
An ABC spokesman said: "This successful prosecution shows that we have teeth and we are not afraid to fight for the rights of tenants. What a lot of private sector tenants don’t realise is that if they have trouble with their landlord they can come to us for help.
“Ashford Borough Council champions the rights of tenants and we make sure that landlords remain accountable and live up to their responsibilities under the law. If they don’t then there are consequences.
“In this case we did everything we could to resolve the situation. We gave Mrs Wilson every opportunity to find a solution to the problem but we were ignored. In the end, we realised that the only way to get justice for the tenants involved was to prosecute.”