Published: 11:04, 06 April 2021
| Updated: 11:07, 06 April 2021
A landlord has had to pay out almost £10,000 after refusing to make safety improvements to two of her Kent properties.
Madeline Scott was fined after ignoring repeated instructions to fix potential safety risks at properties she owned in Folkestone.
Ms Scott, of Allfarthing Lane in London, was served three housing improvement notices on dwellings in Pavilion Road and Wiltie Gardens.
Improvement notices are served when it is believed there is risk to the health and safety of the occupants of the property or visitors to the property.
In this case, Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) highlighted concerns including the risk of falling on stairs, falling between levels, and fire safety.
Dangerous external steps, as well as issues with electrical problems and excess cold were also among those identified by officers.
But despite repeated reminders from the council and numerous attempts to communicate, Ms Scott ignored the notice, leading FHDC to take her to court.
The London resident was found guilty of three counts of acting contrary to the Housing Act 2004 at Maidstone Magistrates' Court on Monday, March 15.
She was fined a total of £4,500 for the offences and ordered to pay £5,000 costs and a £170 victim surcharge – bringing the total bill to £9,760.
This is the first time the council has prosecuted someone for safety concerns was in 2016, and an FHDC spokesman said that they "only consider this action as a last resort".
He said "However, when a landlord refuses to work with us to ensure standards are met, we will not hesitate in bringing about criminal proceedings.
"We hope this conviction acts as a deterrent to any other landlords not taking their responsibilities seriously."
One of the properties has since been sold and will shortly be undergoing extensive refurbishment, while a flat with outstanding issues at the other location is currently unoccupied.
The spokesman added: "We are working actively to ensure the remaining remedial works are carried as the health and safety of our residents remains one of our top priorities."