A Ramsgate man’s been fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,200 after being found guilty of intentionally failing to comply with a Repair Notice relating to his property.
The case related to 3 Vale Square, Ramsgate, which was visited by an officer from the Council’s Private Sector Housing team in July 2002. It was found that the front full-height bay window had become detached from the main structure of the building and scaffolding had been erected to prevent it collapsing on to the pavement and road in front of the property. Due to this structural instability, the house was deemed to be unfit for human habitation.
A Repair Notice was served under the Housing Act 1985, which required the owner Gerald Simpson, also of Vale Square, to carry out urgent building works to make the property safe by April 2004. After representations from Mr. Simpson, the Council extended the deadline for the works until July 2004.
However, Mr. Simpson failed to complete the works and in March 2005, criminal proceedings were started against him, as intentional failure to comply with a Repair Notice is a criminal offence. At the preliminary hearing on 11 October 2005, Mr. Simpson pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Following an adjournment on 15 May 2006, a trial was set for 4 September 2006 at Sittingbourne Magistrates’ Court. At the conclusion of the trial, Mr. Simpson was found guilty of intentionally failing to comply with the notice and was fined £500, and ordered to pay a contribution to the Council’s legal costs of £1,200.
The Repair Notice remains valid and Mr. Simpson must complete the repairs required, or he could be prosecuted again.
Cllr. Ingrid Spencer, Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Services, said: “This property has been an eyesore in Vale Square for five years, with scaffolding covering the entire façade of the property. Being structurally unstable, and unfit for human habitation, the Council had to act, and it did. The Council will not let landlords shirk their responsibilities to the detriment of tenants and surrounding residents. Although prosecution is a last resort, it is a course of action the Council will not hesitate to take when it needs to.”