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Tenant admits breaking buy to let pet ban was fraud
2 February 2016
Martin Starsmore, 28, pleaded guilty to fraudulently signing a tenancy agreement before Nottingham Magistrates.
They were told that Starsmore’s border collie and three cats were blamed for damage to the private rented home that cost £12,000 to put right.
Prosecutor Lee Shepherd explained floorboards were ripped up and replaced and new carpets were laid because of the mess the animals made as Starsmore was agoraphobic and could not take the dog out for walks.
Letting agents claimed the damage totalled more than £12,000.
They also stated that Starsmore and his wife would not let them properly inspect the property after complaints by neighbours about an unpleasant smell coming from the house.
The damage was eventually discovered after Starsmore had left the buy to let when their tenancy ended.
“This is a strange set of events and makes sentencing difficult,” Shepherd told the court.
“Finding a charge to suit the event is not easy because the tenant did not cause the damage, the pets did, but they cannot be held responsible in law.”
Defending, Graham Heathcote explained Starsmore knowingly duped the landlord when he signed the agreement because he knew he would move the pets into the home regardless of the animal ban.
However, Heathcote argued Starsmore did not realise the animals would cause so much damage and lead to such a large bill from the landlord.
Starsmore had already forfeited a £795 deposit as payment towards the damage.
The magistrates ordered Starsmore to pay £1,000 compensation for new carpets as they felt his animals were not responsible for all the damage.
A charge of fraudulently signing the tenancy agreement was dropped against Mrs Starsmore.