27 Mar 2019

Rogue trader fined following council investigation

A Bristol trader has been fined for falsely claiming to be a registered Gas Safe engineer.

James William King, from Brentry, pleaded guilty to three offences, which also included falsely stating that he was accredited by a national body and lacking professional diligence in his business practices.

At Bristol Magistrates Court, Mr King was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £5,259. He was also ordered to pay a £50 victim surcharge.

This was the first prosecution for the council’s new Rogue Landlord Unit, which was established to take enforcement action against private landlords that fail to comply with minimum property standards, tackle illegal eviction and serious harassment of tenants and deal with trading standards offences in the private rented sector.

A council investigation discovered a business profile on a website that contained the false claims made by Mr King about his business. Mr King, who also supplied a false businesses address during the investigation, failed to remove the false information from the webpages after being formerly interviewed.

Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We are very pleased with the results of this case. This is the first time we have prosecuted someone for a Trading Standards housing offence, but we have other similar cases in the pipeline, so hopefully this will send a clear message to rogue landlords and traders that such unlawful practices will not be tolerated.”