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Bedwas housing landlord jailed for cutting off hot water and gas to tenants

Published in News at 13:16, Monday July 30th, 2012. Last updated at 17:12, Monday July 30th, 2012

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A landlord who cut off the hot water and gas to his tenants has been jailed for 12 months.

Paul Rees, 52, of Pandy Road, Bedwas, was found guilty of offences under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and sentenced following a Caerphilly County Borough Council investigation.

The council’s Private Sector Housing Team visited Rees following complaints from a tenant who had let a room at a property where he was the managing agent.

Caerphilly Magistrates were told that Rees had withheld access to hot water and to the gas supply at the Pandy Road property in Bedwas.

After the visit where he was told of the complaints, Rees made the tenant leave – in breach of housing law which states tenants have to be given proper notice. As a result, the tenant became homeless.

While the eviction was being investigated, a second unrelated complaint was made about Rees’ conduct with a female tenant.

Council Environmental Health Officers were told that Rees had harassed a female tenant at the address to the point where she had to flee the property in fear of her personal safety.

She was also further pursued through threats of harm and demands for rent by repeated text messages.

The cases were heard on March 20 2012 and May 1 2012. Rees pleaded not guilty to the offences but was found guilty.

He appeared at Caerphilly Magistrates’ Court for sentencing on July 18 and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

Cllr Gerald Jones, deputy leader of council and cabinet member responsible for housing, said: “We have worked tirelessly alongside private landlords for a number of years through the Private Landlord Forum where good practice, advice and assistance are provided and shared on landlords’ legal responsibilities.

“Enforcement against landlords is very much a last resort, but it was vital in this case because of the sheer seriousness of the offences committed by Mr Rees. I am also very grateful to the two former tenants who came forward and gave their evidence in court to help ensure this case could reach a positive conclusion.

“I am pleased that the courts have emphasised the seriousness of these offences in the sanctions imposed upon Mr Rees.”

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