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A LANDLORD who allowed ‘significant overcrowding’ at a Leominster property has lost her appeal following a two-day trial.

Mayya Kostyuk, 58, of Bishopstone, Hereford, along with her company Herford Housing Solutions Limited, had appeals against eight housing-related offences under the Housing Act 2004 dismissed at Hereford Crown Court earlier this month.

Officers from Herefordshire Council’s Environmental Health Housing team gave evidence as to how Company Director Kostyuk and Herford Housing Solutions Limited had breached conditions of their licence for the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) at Broad Street in Leominster.

The court heard that council officers obtained a warrant and entered the property in March 2015. They found significant overcrowding, a person sleeping in a prohibited room, and failure to maintain the protected means of escape in case of fire.

The case was originally brought by Herefordshire Council’s Environmental Health and Trading Standards Service to Herefordshire Magistrates Court in May 2017, but was subsequently appealed by Kostyuk and Herford Housing Solutions Limited.

Recorder Judge Brand, Q.C. heard the defence contend that the property was a hotel and not an HMO.

Kostyuk was initially ordered to pay a £1,750 fine and £1,750 costs.

Following the case Marc Willimont, Head of Regulatory and Development Management Services for Herefordshire Council, said: “This was one of the worst cases of overcrowding our officers have seen in a licensed House in Multiple Occupation – one tenant was even found sleeping in a prohibited boiler cupboard with no windows.

“Both the company and the director Mayya Kostyuk put profit before the lives of their vulnerable tenants.

“Herefordshire Council is taking housing crime seriously, and this result sends a clear message to other criminal housing landlords that they cannot hide behind their company and such behaviour will not be tolerated.

“We will continue to protect tenants’ safety and the livelihood of our decent housing landlords, by ensuring criminal landlords are brought to justice.”

It was Herefordshire Council’s first housing conviction of the director of a company, under offences by bodies corporate, meaning Kostyuk was also personally liable for the actions of the company.

Source: Hereford Times

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