A landlord who put tenants “lives at risk” has been ordered to pay £34,000 in fines and costs after admitting failing to comply with regulations.
Carmine Salamone, of Bagge Road, Lynn, admitted nine offences under the Housing Act 2004 at West Norfolk Magistrates’ Court, in Lynn.
The offences related to five houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).
Salamone, known as Nino, was fined £8,000 for breaching two Prohibition Orders – banning the use of a dining room as a bedroom – at properties in Westmark and Highfield, Fairstead, Lynn. He was fined £15,000 for five counts regarding the lack of fire safety precautions at those homes plus homes in Lindens and Silver Green, Fairstead, and Losinga Road, North Lynn. He was fined £2,000 for failing to provide an operating central heating system and interrupting the supply of gas at Highfield. He was also ordered to pay costs of £8,920.
After the case Adrian Lawrence, West Norfolk Council cabinet member for community, said: “This landlord has not taken his responsibilities seriously and now he has to pay the consequence of putting people’s lives at risk. He has flagrantly breached prohibition orders and failed to ensure that adequate fire safety precautions were in place. Our housing officers have worked patiently with the landlord providing him with schedules of work that need to be carried out in order to comply with the legal requirements of an HMO, but rather than taking action, he has continued to flout the law.
“We are pleased that the magistrate has taken the matter seriously and we hope that Mr Salamone will now undertake the necessary works to bring his homes up to a safe standard. The vast majority of landlords in this area work hard to ensure that they comply with all the regulations and it is the likes of Mr Salamone that give landlords a bad name.
“We hope this sends out a strong message to people that we work positively with landlords to help them get the most out of the properties whilst ensuring they provide safe and suitable accommodation for their tenants. We are here to help and advise wherever possible but we will not tolerate the kind of behaviour demonstrated by Mr Salamone. Taking someone to court is a last resort, as we would rather they spent the money on their homes instead of paying fines. But if a landlord simply won’t undertake the work they are legally required to do, despite our best efforts to help them, we are left with no choice but to prosecute.”
After the case, Salamone said: “I am a responsible landlord and do not feel I put lives at risk. I have done my best to comply with the regulations and feel I have been unfairly treated by the council.
“I think the punishment should fit the crime and I do not think it does in this case.”
He said he was appealing against the level of the fines as he felt they were too harsh.
Salamone said he had acted on the council’s advice on adjustments that needed to be made in his homes. He said a central heating system was always available at Highfield, but tenants had failed to top up the gas metre.