30 July 2012
A Caerphilly county borough managing agent has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment after being found guilty of a number of housing-related offences.
In the first prosecution of its kind for Caerphilly County Borough Council's Private Sector Housing team, Paul Rees of Pandy Road, Bedwas was found guilty of offences under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment following a Caerphilly County Borough Council investigation.
Caerphilly County Borough Council's Private Sector Housing Team visited Mr Rees following complaints from a tenant who had let a room at the property Mr Rees managed on Pandy Road, Bedwas about dirty conditions at the property and the withholding of basic amenities such as access to hot water and to the gas supply.
Rees, upon discovering the complaints, physically assaulted the tenant. Rees' actions resulted in the tenant feeling he had no option other than to leave.
All tenants have a right to be given proper notice to leave, however this aspect of the housing legislation was not complied with, which resulted in the tenant becoming homeless.
During the time that this initial illegal eviction was being investigated, a second unrelated complaint was made about Mr Rees' conduct with a female tenant.
Council Environmental Health Officers were informed that Rees had harassed a female tenant at the address, to the point where she had to flee the property in fear of her personal safety. She was also further pursued through threats of harm and demands for rent by repeated text messages.
The cases were heard on 20th March 2012 and 1st May 2012. Rees pleaded not guilty to the offences but was found guilty.
He appeared at Caerphilly Magistrates Court for sentencing on 18th July 2012 and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
Cllr Gerald Jones, Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member responsible for Housing said, "We have worked tirelessly alongside private landlords for a number of years through the Private Landlord Forum where good practice, advice and assistance are provided and shared on landlords' legal responsibilities".
He continued, "Enforcement against landlords is very much a last resort, but it was vital in this case because of the sheer seriousness of the offences committed by Mr Rees. I am also very grateful to the two former tenants who came forward and gave their evidence in court to help ensure this case could reach a positive conclusion".
"I am pleased that the courts have emphasised the seriousness of these offences in the sanctions imposed upon Mr Rees", he concluded.
Cases such as this are rare as early intervention, mediation and advice can often resolve differences between landlords and tenants.
For further information on Caerphilly county borough's Private Landlords Forum, please call 01495 235216 or email email@example.com
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