Landlord fined £6,100 for state of Norwich apartment block

The flats at 60 St Faiths Lane in Norwich, have been boarded up. Photo: Archant

The flats at 60 Faiths Lane in Norwich. - Credit: Archant

A landlord who ran a block of flats found in breach of housing regulations has been fined £6,100.

Nick Sutton, director of the company Faiths Lane Apartments Ltd, which ran 60 Faiths Lane, a 40-flat block off Prince of Wales Road in Norwich, appeared at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court on Monday (April 12), where he pleaded guilty to six offences relating to breaches under the housing act.

Nick Sutton, director of Faiths Lane Apartments, which owns the flats at 60 St Faith's Lane. Norwich

Nick Sutton has been fined £6,100 for the way he ran a block of flats in Norwich city centre. - Credit: Twitter

The allegations, brought by Norwich City Council and dating to August, September and October, 2018, included damp-stained corridors, a smoke alarm dangling from the ceiling, large gaps between rails in a stairway, and defective fire doors in the boiler room.

Marcus Croskell, counsel representing City Hall, said that in December 2017, after a complaint about conditions was made by a resident, inspectors from the city council visited the site and found defects including fire hazards.

Previous reporting by the Evening News on the landlord behind 60 St Faith's Lane. Image: Archant

Previous reporting by the Evening News on the landlord behind 60 St Faith's Lane. Image: Archant - Credit: Archant

The council then handed the landlord eight improvement notices, requiring him to fix defects by the end of June.

The block was inspected again in August 2018, and inspectors found further defects in the fire alarm system, as well as mould in the corridor.

"A whole section of the block was not protected as a consequence of the defects in the fire protection system," Mr Croskell said.

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Among the breaches were a smoke alarm hanging from a ceiling, large gaps between the rails in stairway, putting children at high risk, a lack of smoke detectors, damp and mould on walls and defective fire doors in the basement boiler room.

In mitigation, Sutton, representing himself, told the court he had no previous convictions.

He also said that there were 144 fire doors in the building while there were issues with only five.

He said that he no longer makes any income from real estate and that his earnings are now £6,000 a month from a project management role.

District Judge Shanta Deonarine ordered Sutton to pay a fine of £6,100, as well as costs of £4,000 and a victim surcharge of £610.

After the hearing, a spokesperson for Norwich City Council said: “This has been a long and difficult case after we became one of the first in the country to use new legislation to bring rogue landlords to task.

“We acted swiftly to protect the residents of St Faiths Lane after it become clear how serious and appalling the conditions were at these premises.

“Our private sector housing team has worked tirelessly to bring this case to a positive conclusion and we’re delighted with the outcome.”

In March last year, the Royal Courts of Justice’s Upper Tribunal ordered Sutton to pay £174,000 for failing to fix the apartment block.