Owners of “deathtrap” empty property prosecuted

Liverpool City Council is again warning private landlords not to sit on long term vacant properties, after owners of a deathtrap property were successfully prosecuted.

The warning comes as a third private property owner in as many weeks was fined for allowing a vacant property to fall into dilapidation – in this case that it could have electrocuted the public.

Brothers Damien and Paul Gavin, the owners of 40 Grey Road, Walton were found guilty at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court for failing to comply with a notice, served under the Town and Country Planning Act, to undertake urgent repairs to the property.

District Judge Lloyd, who commented that this case was a good example of the difficulties that Local Authorities face in dealing with absent landlords, was also directed to the fact that youths had previously been discovered at the property and that utility boxes outside the property were exposed.  She observed that this was not just therefore an issue relating to the poor visual condition of the property but also one that concerned public safety.

Having heard the facts Judge Lloyd fined the defendants £500 each and a victim surcharge of £50 was also ordered in respect to each defendant.  The council was awarded full costs in the sum of £1,410, split between both defendants with each having to pay £705.

Liverpool City Council will also pursue the pair for any costs incurred in carrying out repair works in default.

Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:This case clearly illustrates the problems empty houses can cause in a neighbourhood. It is essential that property owners manage their properties properly and deal promptly with issues as they arise.

“The council is determined to tackle empty homes in the city and ensure that property owners face up to their responsibilities.”