HMO manager fined for allowing tenants to live in rat-infested property

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An HMO manager has been fined £20,000 for allowing his tenants to live in “unacceptable” conditions.

Gary Drewett, of Portishead Drive, Tattenhoe, was convicted in his absence by city magistrates on Friday of breaching regulations of the management of houses in multiple occupation law.

Inspectors visited the property in Burnmoor Close, Bletchley, to find an infestation of rats or mice and/or cockroaches and broken smoke detectors.

There were also evidence of a fire in the kitchen, broken panes of glass and windows unable to close or open.

Mr Drewett was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,331.17 as well as a £120 victim surcharge, bringing the total financial penalty to £21,451.17.

When the officer visited again in September this time he found a collapsed ceiling above the front door entrance, caused by a leak originating in the bathroom.

Despite warnings throughout, the decision to prosecute was taken after a further visit the next month showed that no significant repairs had been made.

Cllr Hannah O’Neill, Cabinet Member responsible for Housing, said: “People who are renting a home have, at the very least, the right to expect that their home is safe and up to a decent, liveable standard.

“Sadly, on this occasion, this was far from the case and the court clearly recognised that the tenants of this property were living in unacceptable conditions.

“We hope that this case sends a message to those landlords and operators, that where we find evidence of blatant neglect to their tenants, we will prosecute.”