Mansfield landlord fined for putting vulnerable tenants at risk

A Mansfield landlord has been fined for putting vulnerable tenants at risk by mismanaging three properties and failing to make alterations required by law.

John Haddrell, director of Haven Supported Housing Ltd, was ordered to increase the size of a bedroom at a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) on Carter Lane, and add shower facilities.

The bathroom.

The bathroom.

But a year after the warning, no progress had been made, said solicitor Louise Ellis, for Mansfield District Council.

Similar problems were also encountered at a property on Chesterfield Road South, where council officers found the kitchen in a poor and unhygienic condition, with a temporary two-ring hot plate balanced on a broken cooker, along with other issues.

"Outside, there was a large amount of waste material which could harbour vermin," she said.

"HMOs pose potential safety risks and these particular properties weren't properly managed."

The kitchen.

The kitchen.

She said the properties house vulnerable tenants, and "these problems can only serve to make their problems worse."

Tim Haines, mitigating, said Haddrell's not-for profit company provides accommodation for 55 residents across ten properties, some with mental health problems and have been released from prison.

He said works fell schedule because two HMOs were prioritised ahead of a third, and the properties had a "stigma", and one was "notorious" after someone was murdered in one of them, four years ago.

He said workmen were reluctant to carry out improvements at the addresses for fear their tools would be stolen, and Haddrell's regular workman had fallen ill.

"He has sought to refurbish these properties to a high standard," Mr Haines said, adding that some residents had sent thankyou cards for the improvements which have since been made.

Haddrell, 58, of Abberyfield Drive, Mansfield, admitted three counts of failing to comply with licence conditions, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Wednesday.

District judge Jonathan Taaffe said: "I am told that the housing company of which you're a director is not-for-profit and it clearly provides a valuable safety-net for people who are in a vulnerable position in view of their health, life-style and the fact they have been released from prison.

"Some of these tenants are among the most vulnerable in our society. It's quite clear that over a substantial period of time there has been systemic mismanagement of these properties and that's put tenants at risk."

He said if this had been a case where profit was the motivation, the fines "would have run into the tens of thousands of pounds."

He fined Haddrell a total of £6,000, with £1,469 costs and a government surcharge of £170. The same penalties were applied to Haven Supported Housing Ltd, based on St John Street, Mansfield.