Landlords of illegal bedsit hotel in Yarmouth must pay council �40k
Landlords who turned a seafront hotel into an illegal clutter of bedsits which posed a fire risk to residents must pay more than �40,000 to Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
The Blyth House Hotel, in Marine Parade, first came to the attention of environmental health bosses in February 2010 when 82 Marine Parade was surveyed.
And after fire inspectors visited 79-80 Marine Parade the following month, the building was closed on fire safety ground and the 'large number' of tenants were moved out.
A further inspection in October 2010 found fire risks had not been dealt with, and 20 residents were living in the building.
The �41,401.70 confiscation order - made at Tuesday's hearing at Norwich Crown Court - is to reimburse the council for the 'substantial amounts of money' made from the illegal letting of the property.
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Landlords Capital Mastercraft Ltd of Ilford, Essex and its director Arunas Siaulys had been found guilty of failing to licence a house in multiple occupation at 82 Marine Parade and breaching an emergency prohibition order in respect of 79-80 Marine Parade at a previous hearing in Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court.
And on Tuesday the confiscation order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002).
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Glenn Buck, community protection manager for environmental health, said: 'We always seek to work with landlords and have a good relationship with most landlords in the borough.
'However we will not shirk from our responsibilities to ensure that residents live in housing that is as safe as can be.
'It is hoped that the result of the initial prosecution and the subsequent confiscation proceedings sends out a clear message to those irresponsible landlords who seek to prosper from the plight of residents of the borough who are often left with little choice in their housing situation but to take up such sub standard and often dangerous accommodation.'
He explained that 82 Marine Parade first came to the council's attention in February 2010.
'Located in the council's prime holiday area, it was clear that the property was no longer being used as a bona fide hotel,' said Mr Buck. 'It was found to be used as bedsit residential accommodation without the requisite licence from the council and in compliance with the council's standards for such accommodation.'
The council gave Mr Siaulys advice to help him understand the law and gave him time to rectify the situation.
But a further inspection in October 2010 found the property occupied by 20 people - for whom the property was their main residence.
'It was clear Mr Siaulys had ignored the advice given and he left the council with no option but to prosecute,' said Mr Buck. 'Mr Siaulys agreed the property had been used as bedsit accommodation for a number of years prior to February 2010.
'The requirement for a licence came into force in 2006 and it was clear that Mr Siaulys and his company had made substantial amounts of money from the illegal letting of the property.'
In respect of 79-80 Marine Parade, a joint visit was made by officers from environmental health and the fire service in March 2010.
At the time of the inspection, the property was occupied by a large number of people and it was closed on safety grounds.