April 23, 2024 10:09 am

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

Giuseppe Sutera, a landlord known for repeated breaches of housing regulations, found himself once again in the legal spotlight, facing a hefty fine of £36,000. This latest prosecution, spearheaded by South Gloucestershire Council, marks his second appearance at Bristol Magistrates Court. Sutera’s persistent disregard for housing standards has resulted in a cumulative total of fines surpassing £80,000. This staggering sum follows his initial conviction in June 2023, where he was first ordered to pay over £44,000 for serious housing violations.

Despite previous legal action and substantial fines, Sutera’s non-compliance with housing regulations continues to draw attention. His recent appearance in court underscores the persistence of authorities in holding landlords accountable for maintaining safe and habitable housing conditions. The repeated nature of these violations highlights the challenges faced by regulatory bodies in ensuring the welfare of tenants and upholding housing standards within the community.

Giuseppe Sutera, also known as Joe Sutera, faced additional housing charges related to properties in Patchway, resulting in fines exceeding £36,000. These offences include operating an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and ongoing violation of an Emergency Prohibition Order.

Previously in June 2023, Sutera garnered media attention when he appeared in court but declined to identify himself, claiming to be “a man” and asserting that Mr. Joe Sutera was “lost at sea.” This time, however, Sutera admitted guilt during his court appearance.

According to court proceedings, Sutera was found to be running an illegal HMO from a two-storey semi-detached house in Patchway. The South Gloucestershire Council was alerted to the property’s status in March 2023, following the discovery of an unauthorized payment without an HMO license application.

Sutera repeatedly ignored requests to submit a proper House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) license application for the property despite numerous reminders.

Upon inspection, council officers discovered 13 tenants, including children, residing in overcrowded rooms without proper heating, insufficient and unsanitary kitchen facilities, and inadequate fire safety measures. Severe damp and mold were also observed due to overcrowding, lack of heating, and poor insulation.

An evaluation using the Housing, Health & Safety Rating System revealed Category 1 hazards such as overcrowding, excess cold, fire risks, and food safety concerns, along with Category 2 hazards like dampness, mold, domestic hygiene issues, and refuse management.

Despite the dire conditions, Sutera failed to apply for an HMO license and refused to engage with officers regarding the property’s state. Consequently, the council issued two notices under the Housing Act 2004: an Overcrowding Notice to limit occupancy and an Improvement Notice mandating property improvements.

Under the Housing Act 2004, failing to apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) license, where necessary, constitutes an absolute offense with no legal defense. Despite having prior knowledge of the HMO licensing process and possessing licensed HMOs in the Bristol City Council area, Sutera demonstrated a blatant disregard for housing regulations, jeopardizing the health, safety, and well-being of his tenants.

Furthermore, the court learned that Sutera persistently violated an Emergency Prohibition Order (EPO) issued by the council concerning a property in Patchway. Initially served on October 25, 2022, under section 43 of the Housing Act 2004, the EPO mandated Sutera to ensure the dwelling remained unoccupied until a severe fire risk was rectified. This required restructuring the premises, including removing a shared kitchen situated in the property’s fire escape route. Despite facing prosecution for EPO breach in June 2023, Sutera continued flouting the order over 18 months after its issuance.

The council presented evidence of multiple property inspections conducted after the Emergency Prohibition Order (EPO) was issued and following the prosecution in June 2023. These inspections revealed that despite the legal actions taken against him, Sutera continued to allow existing tenants to reside in the property. Additionally, he established new tenancies, with new tenants moving in, even after being prosecuted for breaching the EPO.

A spokesperson for the council stated, “With approximately 17,000 privately rented properties in South Gloucestershire, it is unacceptable for landlords to neglect their legal obligations regarding the condition of their rental homes. While our Private Sector Housing team aims to collaborate with landlords to improve property standards, enforcement action becomes necessary when informal approaches fail. The substantial fines imposed on this landlord serve as a stern warning to others who disregard their responsibility to ensure the safety and decency of their tenants’ living conditions. Failure to comply will result in enforcement measures being taken.”




{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}