10 November 2016
A landlord has been ordered to pay £29,220 in fines and costs after being prosecuted for 56 offences in what is Sheffield City Council’s biggest case against a rogue landlord.
John Mark Cashin, age 47 of Over Lane in Baslow, was found guilty at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 8 November.
Cashin had already been prosecuted by the council last November for 27 offences and ordered to pay £7,200.
On Tuesday the court heard:
- That five properties, on Abbeydale Road, Violet Bank Road, Vincent Road, Fieldhead Road and Glover Road, were all badly managed by Cashin with failure to maintain means of escape and fire alarm systems in all properties and failure to provide copies of Gas Safety and electrical condition reports. Other problems included broken windows, badly fitting external doors and safety defects.
- All but Vincent Road should have been licensed as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) but no applications were ever received.
- The council served many notices to Mr Cashin requiring information and documents but they were all ignored.
The Deputy District Judge, Paul Heeley, said that Cashin had been evasive, failed to disclose information and that his evidence was not credible. He said Cashin deliberately set out to avoid his responsibilities and highlighted the seriousness of the offences by saying: “The weakest in society are the ones that suffer ill-health, serious injury and even death through poor housing conditions.”
Speaking after the court case, one former tenant, Yasmin Wong who lived in Cashin’s property on Glover Road for two months earlier this year, said: “The guy ruined my life. It was horrible and the house was a complete disaster – three or four windows were broken so it was completely freezing. And there were times when we had no electricity for three or four days and he didn’t care.
“I was alone and didn’t have anyone in Sheffield or know what to do. In the end I left. It was two months of hell.”
Sheffield City Council has been investigating Cashin for months after concerns about him were first raised by property owners and tenants.
One property owner who used Cashin as a letting agent for a home in Highfield, and wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I entered a yearly contract with him where he’d sub-let the property. He wasn’t paying rent on time and when the year ended and I wanted my house back, he wouldn’t give it and said I’d have to take him to court.
“I got the house back but it costs me thousands of pounds. He knew exactly what he was doing and didn’t pay any bills for the property so was making a fortune. I know he was doing the same to others.
“He’s put me through stress and other problems. But I think I got off lightly compared to other people.”
Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet member for Housing at Sheffield City Council, said “I want to congratulate officers for their tenacity in bringing this rogue landlord to court again and obtaining this fantastic outcome. Thanks to Cashin, dozens of mainly vulnerable tenants were living in dangerous and inadequate housing and he had a complete disregard to them and their safety.
“This is the biggest case we’ve ever had in terms of the number of offences and sends a strong message to landlords that flout their responsibilities. This is something we’ve put a lot of effort into.
“Good safe affordable housing should be for everyone and it’s landlords like Cashin that give private housing a bad name.
“Sheffield has thousands of really good properties managed by good professional landlords. We will continue to support them and help with problem tenants. But we will also continue to clamp down hard on the few rogue ones like Mr Cashin.”
Sheffield City Council regulates the private rented housing market in Sheffield to make sure tenants are safe and landlords are meeting their legal responsibilities.
To report any concerns about private rented accommodation, tenants or landlords, please contact the council’s private housing team on 0114 273 4680 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org