Private landlord guilty of renting out illegal outbuilding in Kings Langley

We have successfully prosecuted a private landlord who rented out an uninhabitable outbuilding in Kings Langley.

Deborah King, of Rucklers Lane, Kings Langley was initially fined £4,000 for failing to comply with a Prohibition Order after she failed to attend court in March 2023.

King requested a reopening of the case, which the courts approved. The first two hearings were adjourned at the landlord’s request. At the third hearing, at St Albans Magistrates' Court on Wednesday 25 October 2023, a further request for adjournment was submitted, but this was turned down. The defendant failed to attend and was found guilty in her absence and ordered to pay a fine of £6,000, costs of £1,784 and a victim surcharge of £184. The total costs came to £7,968.

We were first notified of the outbuilding in Rucklers Lane after a complaint about an illegal eviction in 2021. After further investigations and a visit to the property, officers found the building, which had been converted into a self-contained unit and was being rented out. The building did not have planning permission or meet building regulation standards for residential use.

The unit had no fixed heating and inadequate insulation, a lack of ventilation and a number of other hazards meaning it was unsuitable for living in. A Prohibition Order was made on 10 May 2022 (to come into force on 8 June 2022), banning  the use of the outbuilding for residential use.

A site visit carried out under warrant on 15 July 2022 found that the unit was still in occupation and communications with the landlord demonstrated that there would be no compliance in regard to the order. 

Our Portfolio Holder for Housing and Property Services, Councillor Simy Dhyani, said: “This prosecution sends a message to all those landlords who keep ignoring the regulations and trying to get away with renting out poorly managed properties. These enforcement actions will carry on helping our private tenants and install positive behavioural change in landlords."