A Riverside landlord was recently fined £12,000 for the appalling conditions of his rented property. Could this be a wider problem in Cardiff?
A Warwickshire man got more than a warning when Cardiff Magistrates’ Court heard his guilty plea relating to 19 offences at his property on Neville Street in Riverside. Robert Hope-Ross was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £478 in costs with a victim surcharge of £170.
The three-story property had been rented to seven tenants, who were furious by the inadequate fire safety measures. There was no fire alarm in the property, the doors were not fire doors and there was no evidence that the gas and electric installations had been properly inspected.
Officers from the Shared Regulatory Service visited the property in July 2018, and founding dirty, damaged carpets, less than brilliant bathroom facilities, and damaged windows amongst other failings.
Luckily, this landlord was brought to justice, but with students making up 20% of Cardiff’s population, InterCardiff took to the streets to find out if other landlords should be fined.
Harps, 21, student
“There’s a lot of issues with student housing in terms of landlords, and you always get difficulties with agencies, but the house I’m in is quite expensive so we haven’t had any problems. Whereas, all my friends, who are living in normal housing… Mould, damp, they ring the agency, can you do something about it, it’s a very long process. It’s not great, but, the thing is we don’t have a lot of choice…What we’re getting is a nice, fairly modern house. It is out of my price range, but I’d rather not have a headache. But, if I had the choice, I’d rather pay a lot less.”
Jack, 21, student
“Our [house] is quite good actually, I mean, he fixes everything that we break, so…It’s pretty cheap to be fair.”
Conrad, 22, student
“In a flat with six people…I’d say my accommodation is pretty good, but I’ve tried to avoid the Cardiff accommodation because I’ve heard of problems and that sort of thing… It is expensive.”
Nora, 24, student
“I live in a private, rented accommodation…[but in previous housing] I think it was just generally, when we moved in, like cleanliness of the property and getting someone round to do maintenance quickly and this like that. [Now], we have an online… you sort of report the issue and then it’ll categorise it on priority, and then there’ll, they’re really good at sorting it.”
Ben, 21, student and Rosie, 20, student
Ben said, “I’m in student housing as well…We have problems to be fair with our house, erm, two weeks ago the ceiling fell apart and water from the bathroom, girls’ bathroom upstairs, was trickling into the lounge. And, there’s problems with damp and stuff as well. Heating, that’s an issue… We pay a bit too much considering we have these kinds of problems. It’s hard to work out if it’s just a student problem, or if it’s just a housing problem.”
Rosie said, “We’ve had problems with there being issues and then the landlord not really doing anything about it…It was like, some places are a bit damp, and our washing machine stopped working at one point. And, actually they are quite bad: our door lock froze over so we couldn’t get back into the house late at night, and it took him like two weeks to come and sort that out…I think it’s quite extortionate for what we have.”