Lecturer fined over breaches of landlord rules
A UNIVERSITY lecturer who denied being a "rogue landlord" has been fined by magistrates after being convicted of almost a dozen licensing breaches.
Christopher Jones, of Bishopston Road, Bishopston, admitted 11 breaches of licensing and management rules for landlords of houses in multiple occupation when he appeared at Swansea Magistrates Court.
The court was told Jones owns a three-storey house in Eaton Crescent in Uplands which he lets to eight students.
Swansea Council, which brought the prosecution against him, received a complaint from the residents in February and Environmental Health officers visited days later.
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Officers found bicycles causing an obstruction, a stained floor in the hallway as well as condensation running down the walls in the utility room and downstairs toilet.
The automatic fire detection system was disconnected and windows on the ground floor were damaged.
Mushrooms were found growing inside one of the rooms.
Jones also admitted leaving bags of garden waste piled up.
The court heard Jones was given a list of breaches to tackle within the house and officers visited again five days later on March 20, when it was noted that some but not all the repairs had been carried out.
Jones told Swansea Magistrates that he had been letting out student properties for 30 years.
"Everything is maintained to a high standard," he said.
Jones said he had warned students not to block fire exits with their bicycles.
"I repeatedly told them not to put anything in the hallway but I have no authority to make them do that. If they put them there, I give notice they should be removed and they then put them back," he said.
He said the occupants had re-set the fire alarm system and he had to call an expert to reset it again to access the system.
"This house is being lived in by a group of students so it's ongoing maintenance," he said.
"It's not that it's in bad repair, it's that you can always find something wrong with it.
"I'm not here as a horrible person, renting a horrible house," said Jones.
"Maybe I have been a bit lax with maintenance but I have now employed a manager," he added.
Jones told magistrates he was not a "rogue landlord".
He was fined £500 for breaching the terms of the Houses of Multiple Occupancy licence and £250 for failing to comply with regulations with the management of a Houses of Multiple Occupancy.
No separate penalty was imposed on the other nine counts.
He was also told to pay £250 towards costs and a £15 victim surcharge.