A landlord has been slammed by a court and fined £9,000 for having properties unfit for human habitation.
Casey Harwood was hit with the fine after he had tenants in one house which had no form of heating.
There were no fire or smoke alarms and other severe hazards were identified
Another was turned into flats without planning permission and one flat only had one electric socket.
And Harwood continued to have people living in his properties despite receiving legal notices telling him to empty them. He did not attend a hearing at Blackpool Magistrates Court.
He was found guilty of six offences, which said he allowed people to live in dangerous conditions.
He was fined a total of £9,000 and chairman of the bench Janet Boccacio said: “We are appalled at the state of these buildings and cannot believe that people actually have to live in them.”
Katherine Wormleighton, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, described one house on Victory Road to the court.
It had no form of heating apart from an open hearth which could not be used because the flue above was dangerous.
She said: “There were no fire or smoke alarms and other severe hazards were identified. The building was excessively cold and windows could not be opened because they would fall out. There was damp and mould and no food store.”
She said Harwood’s agent was contacted and tenants removed but another inspection followed and the tenants were back again.
A house on Westfield Road had been turned into flats without planning permission. As well as having a pile of dangerous asbestos in the garden there were holes around window frames.
Again there were no fire or smoke alarms or fire fighting equipment. In one flat the electricity was fed into rooms via an extension lead from a single socket dangerously placed next to the kitchen sink.
“There was a serious risk from an unsafe dwelling. It was dangerous,” said the prosecutor.
Harwood has a portfolio of downmarket properties in Blackpool. The 45-year-old formerly lived in Myrtle Avenue, Thornton, and has addresses in Leeds and London.
His revenue from the two properties the subject of the case was estimated at £1,000 a week.
After the hearing a spokesman for housing charity Shelter said:”These are seaside slums which exist behind the thin veneer of glitz some of our coastal tourist town have.”
“We hope these prosecutions send out a message to property owners.”