A “ROGUE landlord” fined almost £10,000 for endangering the lives of Chester tenants has also been ordered to repay more than £5,000 in housing benefit.
A residential property tribunal ruled that Jonathan Shingfield must repay £5,251.84 to Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC).
He received the benefit for three tenants who occupied bedsits in a converted
three-storey Victorian property in Louise Street, Garden Quarter, which he was letting without a licence.
The tenants, who were not claiming housing benefit, have been advised that they can claim back the rent they paid.
Mr Shingfield, 29, director of Manchester-based Shingfield Estates, was found guilty in October 2013 of nine offences under housing legislation, including illegal eviction, and was fined £9,590.
Alison Amesbury, the council’s interim head of housing strategy, said: “This is the first time that Cheshire West and Chester Council has taken formal action for these types of offences.
“We are delighted at the tribunal decision. It sends out a strong message that rogue landlords who put their tenants at risk will not be tolerated in West Cheshire.” The council’s private sector housing team brought the case against Mr Shingfield after being contacted by a tenant from the Louise Street property.
The man reported that his landlord had removed his bedsit door and glazing to his window in an attempt to force him to leave.
On inspection the property was found to be poorly managed and maintained with serious issues relating to fire safety, particularly with staircases and windows.
The property was also registered as being occupied by a single family and had no licence to be run as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Evidence from the court case was put before the Property Chamber Northern Residential Property First Tier tribunal on May 27, before the council was informed of its decision on Wednesday.
Mrs Amesbury added: “As well as responding to complaints from tenants, our private sector housing team operates an inspection programme to ensure properties are well managed and maintained.
“We also run the Cheshire Landlord Accreditation Scheme, which recognises good landlords who provide higher-quality accommodation.”
See full story in the Chester Leader