Successful prosecution against a high-profile landlord Ashford Council said the ruling is a “powerful reminder” to private sector landlords that there will be serious consequences if they fail to deal fairly with their tenants.

Successful prosecution against a high-profile landlord Ashford Council said the ruling is a “powerful reminder” to private sector landlords that there will be serious consequences if they fail to deal fairly with their tenants.

Judith Wilson, 68, wife of controversial landlord and property tycoon Fergus Wilson, 70, has been found guilty of failing to comply with an enforcement notice following an issue with their ex-tenant’s hot water system, which was allegedly faulty for over a five-month period.

Mark Manser, who uses a wheelchair, and partner Sarah Manser had been left with a faulty hot water system for an alleged five-month period. In a previous hearing, prosecutor Sophie Gray accused Mrs Wilson of “fabricating” attempts to restore the boiler and showing “clear disregard”

However, defence barrister Ben Leb argued Mr and Mrs Manser denied Mrs Wilson access to the property in Kingsnorth and caused damage to the water system, causing the home to flood.

District Judge Justin Barron told Folkestone Magistrates’ Court In his verdict last Wednesday, “I find the reason hot water wasn’t fixed was because Mr and Mrs Wilson did not address the problem.”

Now, Mrs Wilson, previously of good character must comply with a financial circumstances order to get a better picture of her wealth before a judge sentences her to an unlimited fine.

He added: “As a consequence of my findings my decision is that Mrs Wilson failed to comply with the requirements of the abatement notice and did not have a reasonable excuse for that failure.
“I find her guilty of the offence.”

Ashford Authority’s portfolio holder for housing, Councillor Gerald White, commented:
“What a lot of private sector tenants don’t realise is that if they have trouble with their landlord they can come to us for help. This successful prosecution against a high-profile landlord shows that we have teeth and we are not afraid to fight for the rights of tenants who live in our borough.

The council champions the rights of tenants and we make sure that landlords in the private sector remain accountable and live up to their responsibilities under the law.
If they don’t then there are consequences.”

The case was adjourned for sentencing on Tuesday, December 11 at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court.