A Watford landlord has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 for failing to fix dangerous mould in a rental property.

James Smith, of Harwoods Road, has to pay £10,451 as part of a fine, victim surcharge and court costs after he failed to comply with a property improvement notice for a rental property in Kings Avenue, Watford.

Watford Borough Council Environmental Health officers issued the improvement notice on April 5 2023 after responding to a call from a “distressed” family living in hazardous conditions with their three young children.

Officers concluded that large parts of the property were not safe as the level of mould posed a danger to the tenants’ health, particularly for the three young children.

The council served an Emergency Prohibition order preventing the children’s bedroom from being used until the repair works had been completed.

However, Smith, 38, failed to carry out the repair works between May 8 and June 5 and was taken to court by Watford Borough Council.

He pleaded guilty at St Albans Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, January 3, and was handed a £4,608 fine, £1,843 victim surcharge and £4,000 in court costs.

Watford mayor Peter Taylor said: “Landlords neglecting their responsibilities will not be tolerated. Everyone deserves to live in a safe, warm home.

"We have taken decisive action to bring some justice for the family involved, but the story is a shocking one and very sad indeed to hear how the children were so badly affected.

"We are doing everything we can in Watford to protect our residents and we will keep protecting tenants in situations like this."

The family have now left the property and the council has placed a prohibition that prevents the landlord renting to other tenants until the required works have been carried out and assessed by the Environmental Health team.

Mr Taylor continued: "I think at the centre of the matter, it’s truly horrible to see a family living in such terrible conditions.

"Watford Council stands firm in its commitment to safeguarding the wellbeing of our residents, especially in this case where there were young children involved, the most vulnerable group to be affected by mould spores.”