Homeowner fined £12,550 for failing to repair tumbledown houses in Sunderland

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A HOMEOWNER has been fined £12,550 after failing to repair dilapidated houses in Sunderland.

Sunderland City Council has taken legal action against the owner of two properties in Villette Path, Hendon.

The authority said John Clark, of Ashbrooke Range, had refused to carry out urgent repairs or the demolish properties after they served improvement notices to bring the houses to expected standards.

Councillor Graeme Miller, responsible for housing in Sunderland, said: “We all have a shared responsibility to make our local communities as liveable and environmentally attractive as possible.

“Empty, neglected or boarded up properties will have a detrimental affect on any street and we all need to continue to work together to prevent that happening however and whenever we can.

“If we can’t achieve this with our usual approach of persuasion, encouragement and support then everyone needs to be aware that we are prepared to take legal enforcement action when it becomes necessary.”

He said the disrepair both properties was bought to the council’s attention by the Long Streets Action Group, which is made up of residents and housing and planning partners.

Coun miller said all agencies are working together to improve the neighbourhood in Hendon through a mix of environmental and social improvements.

The council first served legal notices served on Mr Clark to make urgent repairs to his dilapidated buildings was in 2012.

He was fined a total of £300 in May 2013 due to his failure to carry out the required remedial works to the properties.

A spokesman said: “Although the owner was forced to remove parts of the roof and upper walls of the buildings as they had begun to collapse into the road, unfortunately Mr Clark chose to ignore the seriousness of the situation and continued to fail to make the necessary repairs to his properties to the standards required by the notices served upon him.

“This led to the latest prosecution at Sunderland Magistrates’ on January 8 2014, which Mr Clark chose not to attend.

“In his absence Magistrates found the case proven and imposed a fine of £12,550 for both continuing offences, costs of £800 and a victim surcharge of £120.

“A continued failure to comply with legal notices served upon an owner of properties in this respect can result in a fine of £100 for every day that the notices remain outstanding following a first conviction.”