TWO companies who failed to comply with enforcement notices served by Wigan Council on a property in Leigh have been fined a total of £4,000.

In January 2010 the council received a complaint from Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service regarding 50 Gordon Street in Leigh. They reported that the tenant was living with no running hot or cold water, no working toilet or bathing facilities, no heating and smashed windows.

Due to the severity of the problems, the council arranged for the tenant to be re-housed and instructed the landlord to complete repairs before re-letting the house to a new tenant. However, in May 2010, a council officer noticed that the house had been re-occupied and, after speaking with the new tenant, found that the landlord had not carried out all the repairs needed at the property.

Following a full inspection of the house, the council served an improvement notice on May 26, which required works to address several hazards relating to damp and mould growth, electrical safety, entry by intruders, excess cold, falls, fire, food safety, personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage.

The landlord was required to complete these works by July 9, 2010. Some repairs were carried out but they failed to undertake more major works and documentation confirming electrical and gas installations were safe.

At a hearing at Wigan & Leigh Magistrates’ Court, Meridian Foundation Ltd pleaded guilty to the offence of failing to comply with an improvement notice issued under the Housing Act 2004. The company was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £918.

At the same court hearing, Meridian Investments (Manchester) Ltd were prosecuted for failing to comply with a separate enforcement notice that required them to remove a disused external toilet at the same property that was allowing rats to escape from the sewer. The company pleaded guilty to an offence under the Building Act 1984 and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £354.

Council officers are continuing to work with both companies to ensure that the outstanding works are completed promptly.

Local councillors Lord Peter Smith, Myra Whiteside and Susan Greensmith had raised the issue of privately rented homes in poor condition at the start of the Leigh Neighbours Project last year.

Council Leader Lord Smith said: “This prosecution sends a clear message to landlords that the council will not tolerate poor living conditions for tenants.”

Wigan Council’s private sector housing manager, Anees Mank, said: “Privately rented homes must be maintained in a healthy and safe condition. The council will take enforcement action against landlords who ignore this duty.

“If you are a tenant living in a privately rented home that is in poor condition, then please e-mail or telephone 01942 733348.”