A LANDLORD has been acquitted of nine convictions following an appeal against Colchester Council which took him to court for breaching housing regulations.

Cyril Thomas, director of Platinum Crown Investments, was convicted after a trial last year in relation to 134a Hythe Hill, a flat above his letting agency office which had been a house in multiple occupation since December 2014.

On appeal the convictions were dropped at Chelmsford Crown Court last week.

Speaking after the hearing, he said: “Naturally, I’m delighted the judge decided to dismiss all nine charges brought against me by a few individuals within Colchester Council.

“It has been a costly, emotionally draining, and time consuming process for all involved.

“The judge stated all charges were to be dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

“My defence barrister Archie Maddan pointed out several issues with the council’s case, including that one of the alleged charges failed to state what I was being convicted for.

"Several of the alleged charges didn't occur on the date that environmental health officer Torben Wood initially claimed, and Mr Maddan identified at least three of the charges were actually due to tenant negligence, such as tenants allegedly removing light bulbs from communal areas to place them in their bedrooms and leaving bicycles in communal fire escapes despite written warnings from Platinum Crown.”

Some of the charges related to the potential for mould, inadequate communal lighting, an electrical report not been filed in time and there not being a bin inside the flat.

The entrepreneur was fined more than £20,000, of which £7,000 already paid should be reimbursed.

He said the outcome of the case “gives rise to questions surrounding the processes that were followed” which led to the local authority pursuing a criminal case.


“For this reason, certain individuals may still have a case to answer to,” he added.

“We’re pleased to have continued positive relations with majority of CBC’s environmental health officers. Over the last decade I’ve had constructive relationships with them and aim to continue to do so.

“Private sector landlords and councils need to work together to address the housing issues present in today’s society, but this can only be achieved if there is trust between both parties.

“I’m grateful for the considerable amount of support we’ve received during these difficult years from the community, friends, and family.”

A spokesman for Colchester Council said: “The earlier decision by Colchester Magistrates’ Court to judge Mr Thomas, rather than his company, had a key bearing on the case and means no party has been convicted for the breaches identified.

“However, the appeal was upheld on the basis Mr Thomas, in his capacity as landlord, was not the person responsible, not that violations did not exist, and therefore we maintain it was right to take the action we did against serious breaches of the regulations.

“While we will continue to work closely with local landlords and letting agents to improve standards of accommodation in the private rented sector, we remain committed in our duty to pursue legal action whenever accommodation is not being responsibly managed.”

Councillor Tina Bourne, portfolio holder for housing and communities, added: “This is a disappointing outcome to a case that included serious management failings.


Councillor Tina Bourne

“Colchester Council remains committed to holding landlords and property managers to the highest standards required for HMO accommodation, where often vulnerable people are compelled to share basic facilities.

“Whenever accommodation fails to meet these legal standards, residents are put at greater risk and their lives can be seriously affected by their living conditions.

“Given the evidence of serious breaches of HMO management regulations, the council was right to take this action, and we will continue to take enforcement action whenever and wherever it is warranted in future.

“We have an obligation not only to help improve accommodation and property standards for Colchester residents, but to also create fairer market conditions for all those in the local lettings industry who do meet their responsibilities and manage HMO properties effectively.”