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Holsworthy Property Owner Fined following previous closure by Police

Barnstaple Magistrates Court

In June of this year Magistrates ordered the closure of a property in North Road, Holsworthy due to repeated and significant anti-social behaviour associated with a "house in multiple occupation" (HMO). Working with the police Torridge officers also discovered that the property didn't have appropriate authorisation for such use. While a licence was later granted the owners continued to flout the rules regarding how these types of properties should be run and managed, despite repeated warnings from the Council. They also failed to operate in an effective way to make a positive change to the lives of the people seeking housing, which included children and families.

At a recent Magistrates Court Hearing William Medland pleaded guilty to charges of non compliance with conditions of an HMO licence and was fined £500 and ordered to pay £1,200 in costs. Court papers revealed that although assistance had been offered by Torridge officers over a long period of time this was resisted and not acted on. During the period over £22,000 in housing benefit was paid to Mr Medland but no alterations were made to the property to ensure occupants were housed safely and within conditions required by the Housing Act 2004.

Prior to the closure the police were regularly in attendance following numerous complaints from both residents and neighbours. The property was classed as potentially dangerous and unsafe due to the significant and persistent disorder which the owner failed to control. The Council now understands that the property will be put up for sale by Mr Medland and remains unoccupied at present.

Lead Member for Housing Councillor Cathrine Simmons said:

"The joint action taken by the Police and Torridge Officers was essential to improve the conditions of the premises for any future tenants that may reside at the addresses. It was also important that local residents should be protected from the continuous disturbances which blighted their lives.

The end result is a fine for the owner which reflects their disregard for the rules and their complacent approach to running their tenancies. It is a shame that despite repeated offers of guidance and practical assistance they persisted in their behaviour which resulted in this substantial penalty they will now have to pay. Both the Police and our Officers deserve our thanks for pursuing this matter to a conclusion."

14 December 2018