Thursday, March 29, 2007

ASBO landlord Dickens again

My anonymous correspondent (postmark Colwyn Bay) has sent me a cutting from the Big Issue Magazine, which shows that ASBO landlord Dickens is facing yet more court appearances. He has now received a summons from the Health and Safety Executive under the gas regulations, the gas appliances in his former properties having been substandard and the flues full of rubble.

I am glad to see the HSE doing something in respect of these regulations, which after all are there to prevent people being killed by gas emissions. I am just concerned to see that the article emphasises how unusual it is for the HSE to summons offenders in this way.

The article goes on to say that the authorities are using this high profile case to send out a strong message to landlords in North Wales. If that message is that avoidance of the gas safety regulations will result in prosecution, I hope that they will bring a few more, to press the message home. There is not a lot of point in having safety regulations if they are not enforced.

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Anonymous said...

Steven Dickens was convicted in June of breaching gas safety regulations, after pleading guilty to six charges. He was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £18,740 costs.

The story is available here:">

Dickens initially submitted a defence asserting he was not lawfully required to comply with the gas safety regulations because his standard tenancy agreement stated the tenant was responsible for maintaining all heating appliances.

One worrying aspect of gas safety regulations is how rarely the Health & Safety Executive take action to enforce compliance with gas safety regulations, even where continuing breaches by rogue landlords are brought to their attention. This is in part due to the large bulk of the H&SE's work being the regulation and enforcement of commercial (rather than residential) premises and the greater risks such premises present.

Thankfully in this case the H&SE appear to have taken a more enlightened and proactive approach – action which may have prevented a fatality.

As regards the notorious Dickens I am reliably informed that his trial (and that of his partner and both his parents) for large-scale mortgage fraud has been listed for a nine-week trial at Crown Court in March 2008.

Dickens has now auctioned his properties and gone into catering, which is perhaps just as well. Persons on low incomes looking for a home in the Conwy borough shall hopefully not now be let properties with gas fires that remain unserviced for years on end, and whose flues are full of rubble.

Anonymous said...

The trial of Mr Dickens and his partner on numerous counts of obtaining money transfers by deception, relating to purchases of buy to let HMOs in North Wales, finally started recently:

No report of any verdict as yet.