With a sense of grinding inevitability, and a smidgen of schadenfreude, once more Fergus and Judith Wilson feature in these pages. (Here is the previous trail).
This time, the appearance is for Judith Wilson being found guilty of failing to comply with a Housing Act 2004 enforcement order requiring her to remedy a defective hot water supply to one of the Wilson’s properties, that had not been functioning for a period of 5 months. The Wilsons were for once not in person, but had counsel. Still, one can perhaps hear the voice of instructions.
If you asked yourself what the worst possible set of circumstances for which you could be in front of a court for failing to remedy a defective hot water supply could be, I suspect that one where the tenants were disabled would be high up the list, maybe perhaps a little below one where the tenant had a new born baby (though to be fair, Fergus Wilson has already had a go at them). But that is where Fergus and Judith Wilson decided to go, with one of the two tenants being a wheelchair user.
This apparently did not deter the Wilsons from alleging that the tenants had variously caused damage to the hot water system, resulting in a flood, and had denied access for works.
Also to blame, according to the Wilsons, were the council, as Fergus argued that “he gave the council the green light to carry out the emergency repairs itself”. (Note to all. This is NOT a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with an enforcement notice. Do not try this at home.)
None of these accusations availed the Wilsons much. The District Judge found
the reason hot water wasn’t fixed was because Mr and Mrs Wilson did not address the problem. Mr Wilson and Mrs Wilson had every opportunity to resolve the issues but Mr Wilson was consistently difficult and stubbornly refused to make any genuine commitment to the council to get the work carried out.
Mrs Wilson was found guilty. Ahead of sentencing, to be in December, the DJ noted that any prospective fine to be levied was unlimited and should be ‘punitive’, adding “The fine is designed to impact you”. A financial circumstances order was made against Mrs Wilson, requiring her to disclose her assets, including joint assets, prior to sentencing. The Wilsons have hitherto been keen to talk up the value of their properties and business. I wonder if a contrary urge will manifest itself.
Fergus Wilson said what he always says. That he will have to sell properties and evict tenants.
One cannot but wonder at this being yet another plumber-related step towards a banning order. Plumbers appear to be Fergus Wilson’s nemesis. Perhaps he should not have put them on his list of banned prospective tenants. Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first deny gas safe registered heating engineers.