A JUDGE has told a rogue landlord he rented rooms in “squalid and dilapidated” houses to desperate tenants.
Recorder Simon Foster, sitting with two magistrates, upheld 18 convictions in an appeal brought by 59-year-old David McCabe. The bench at Plymouth Crown Court upheld his appeal against ten further charges related to the two rented properties.
The findings mean Plymouth City Council can go ahead with its bid to ban McCabe from renting rooms to people on housing benefit.
The authority has launched a pioneering legal application for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.
It has been put on hold pending McCabe’s appeal but proceedings will now begin again before Plymouth magistrates.
Recorder Foster told McCabe: “Tenants in desperate circumstances were installed in woefully inadequate squalid accommodation. The monies you obtained were almost always from housing benefit.”
Plymouth magistrates fined McCabe £28,0000 for failing to clean up two homes and breaching housing regulations in December 2012.
McCabe, of Molesworth Road, Stoke had denied two charges of failing to comply with improvement notices and 26 specific breaches in relation to his homes in Wolsdon Street and Wyndham Street West, both in Stonehouse. But magistrates found him guilty and fined him £1,000 for each offence.
The judge and magistrates, concluding a much-delayed appeal, ruled that McCabe was to blame for a string of faults including loose carpet at the top of stairs which was a tripping hazard.
Kitchen windows were seized shut and covered in moss and sinks were broken and poorly repaired.
A yard at one of the homes was full of what the judge called “junk” and toilets and bathrooms were filthy.
The court heard that most of the tenants with single men and many had alcohol or mental health problems.
But the bench reduced fines on most of the remaining convictions, so McCabe will have to pay a total of £8,000.
He will also have to pay £4,500 towards the city council’s costs, as well as paying his own undisclosed barrister’s fee for three days in court.
McCabe refused to comment.