Landlord fined 7000 for neglecting garden for seven years as council crackdown on empty properties

June 24, 2019

An absentee landlord has been fined £7,000 for not doing any work on the garden of his property for seven years as part of a council’s crackdown on empty properties.

The terraced property in Bristol had not been lived in for six years after landlord Leighton Dowding moved to Brighton in 2012.

In that time, Dowding left the garden “wholly unmaintained” despite being ordered to make improvements by South Gloucestershire Council after people began to use the neglected property as a rubbish dump.

A community protection notice was served on Dowding in August 2017, but he failed to clear the land or remove the waste.

He then failed to comply with a Remedial Order under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act.

As a consequence, he was fined £4,800 by magistrates, adding on £2,200 in costs and a victim surcharge, at a hearing earlier this month.

Dowding’s penalty comes as South Gloucestershire Council get tougher on empty properties in a bid to tackle the housing needs in the area.

“Allowing empty properties to continue to have a detrimental effect on the local neighbourhood will not be tolerated,” South Gloucestershire Council cabinet member for planning, transport and strategic environment Cllr Steve Reade said after the hearing.

“We are working to bring long-term empty properties in our area back into use to help meet the local housing need.

“Before following this course of action, we had previously written to and contacted the owner several times about their property and repeatedly offered advice and assistance, without any continuing response.

“Where necessary, we will use enforcement powers to bring empty properties back into use which require an owner to maintain the property in reasonable condition if it is adversely affecting the locality.”