House-share turned into dumping ground lands Northampton man with £11,500 court bill
Council forced into massive clean-up after rubbish led to rats in nearby gardens
A Northampton man who allowed the back garden of a house share to become a dumping ground has been ordered to pay thousands of pounds in fines and clean-up costs.
More than 13 tonnes of rubbish had to be removed from Peverel's Way, close to the Weedon Road, after Ian Kimpton ignored a series of enforcement notices.
Northampton Magistrates fined Mr Kimpton £1,500 at a hearing on April 9 and ordered him to stump up costs of £9,524 following a successful prosecution by West Northamptonshire Council.
Environmental Health officers and Northamptonshire Police first visited the address in November 2019, issuing warnings to clear up the mess to Mr Kimpton and two lodgers.
Those warnings were not heeded by the following month, leading to a Community Protection Notice (CPN) to remove the waste — which was also ignored, forcing the Environmental Health Team into action to clear the back garden.
Rotting sacks, old furniture and appliances, and garden waste was among the ten tonnes of rubbish taken away.
A prosecution scheduled for April 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic, but was launched again this year when officers had to return to the property to remove three tonnes of waste that piled up after the first clearance operation.
Alongside the Environmental Health investigation, the council’s Housing Enforcement team had been looking into living conditions inside the property and, working with Northamptonshire Police, issued an Emergency Prohibition Order in July 2020 to prevent the letting of rooms at the address.
However an inspection in January this year found the Order had been breached, with a number of tenants at risk in the property. An Interim Management Order was issued, allowing the council to take control of the property and find safe, suitable alternative accommodation for the tenants.
In addition to the fine and massive costs, Kimpton must pay a £150 victim surcharge and £400 in compensation to a neighbour who was invaded by rats as a result of the build-up of rubbish.
West Northants is now in control of the property after issuing Northampton’s first Interim Management Order under the Housing Act 2004 — which allows local authorities to take over the running of a house of multiple occupation (HMO) where there is no fit and proper person available to do so.
Stuart Timmis, Executive Director of Place & Economy at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “Enforcement is always a last resort but the state of the garden was such that it posed a risk to the public.
“I hope this result sends out a strong message that we will not hesitate to take swift action where there is a need to do so.
“It is also important that everyone who is privately renting in West Northamptonshire has a safe, well-managed place to live, and the action taken allowed us to find suitable alternative accommodation for the tenants as well to take control of the property so that it can be brought up to a good standard.”