Landlord prosecuted for failing to repair open sewer

A Liverpool landlord has been fined for failing to repair an open sewer in the garden of a rental property.

SRA Property Limited has been prosecuted by Liverpool City Council under Section 99 of the Building Act 1984 after refusing to fix an exposed drainage system on Russian Drive in L13, District Judge Boswell described it as ‘essentially an open sewer.’

Liverpool City Council officers were called to the property in June 2021 following a referral which indicated that a large trench had been dug on the left-hand side of the property which had exposed the drainage system that served the six flats within.

After a lack of cooperation with the company regarding the undertaking of works, a notice under Section 59 of the Building Act 1984 was served in November 2021 requiring SRA Property Limited to repair the drainage system, which the company failed to do.

As a result of the failure of the company to undertake any repairs, the council carried out the work and brought a prosecution against the company.

No representative of SRA Property Limited attended court on 24 March, with District Judge Boswell finding the company guilty in their absence and imposing a fine of £2,500 – the maximum amount for this type of offence, plus costs of £989.79 and a victim surcharge of £190.

Repair work in progress

Councillor Sarah Doyle, Cabinet Member for Strategic Housing and Regeneration, said: “This was a totally unacceptable case of a landlord putting the health of tenants at risk by letting them live in appalling conditions.

“We could not allow the situation to continue, so we have carried out the work and will be pursuing the landlord for the cost, and have also brought a successful prosecution.

“This is yet another reminder of why our new Landlord Licensing scheme launching in April is so needed, giving us the tools to identify and tackle private rented properties as well as HMOs.

“We are united in our mission to raise standards and improve the city’s neighbourhoods for residents.”

Local Councillor Steve Radford, who raised the issue, said: “It has been an atrocious experience for Russian Drive neighbours and the council as a last resort has used the default procedures to protect public health. We would like to thank all the council officers who assisted.”

A new Landlord Licensing scheme in Liverpool, covering 16 wards where at least one in five properties is rented out, starts on 1 April – find out who needs a licence and how to apply at

Liverpool Waterfront