Norwich landlord fined �15000

Norwich landlord fined �15000

An absentee landlord has been fined �15,000 for failing to ensure that three properties in Norwich were sufficiently heated.

Relay Arch, which owns flats in Earlham House, above the shopping centre, was found guilty in its absence at Norwich Magistrates' Court on Thursday of three breaches of a section 11 improvement notice.

It was fined �5,000 for each property, totalling �15,000, and Norwich City Council said it would gain access to all of the rental units at Earlham House until Relay Arch stopped being an absentee landlord.

Magistrates heard that London-based Relay Arch had failed to take enough action to improve the flats which were so cold that they were detrimental to people's health.

All 84 flats in Earlham House were inspected last year by Norwich City Council and Relay Arch was warned to find ways of heating up the properties or face prosecution.

Otis Hernandez, from the council's private sector housing office, said: 'These three properties at Earlham House that we investigated came out as category 1 of the Housing Act, which means they were excessively cold.

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'We served notice on Relay Arch to improve the units, which they partially complied with by putting storage heaters inside two of them, but not the third.

'But the storage heaters did not provide sufficient heating to comply with the notices.

'We needed installation and double glazing to be fitted at those properties, so we took them to court.

'At court they were fined �5,000 for each, which was the maximum fine that could have been imposed. They were also ordered to pay �400 costs, so it was a good result for us.

'We are now trying to re-engage with them and find out what is happening and what they are doing.

'We are looking at the rest of the properties there and, although about 20 are leasehold, there are more than 50 owned by Relay Arch so, potentially, we could take them to court on all those, if we find they are excessively cold.

'As the fines were �15,000 for the three properties on Thursday, we are potentially looking at big money.'

The Evening News has previously highlighted a long-running saga of potholes in the Earlham House shopping centre car park, which is owned by Relay Arch.

Nobody from Relay Arch property management company 4D would comment on the case.

Are you in dispute with the landlord where you live? Contact Evening News reporter David Bale or email