Harwood Andrews has acted for the City of Greater Geelong (Council) in a successful prosecution of the owners of ‘the Ritz’ - a prominent heritage listed building located on Bellerine Street, Geelong.
Over many years ‘The Ritz’ had been allowed to fall into a state of dilapidation and neglect as repair notices issued by Council were ignored. As a result, ‘the Ritz’ owners, Tuyet and Diem Truong, were charged with offences under the Neighbourhood Amenity Local Law 2014 (Local Law).
In what was a first ever prosecution under the Local Law for a dilapidated building offence, the Geelong Magistrates Court convicted the Truongs of six charges and ordered they pay a fine of $12,000 plus $5,000 costs.
The prosecution represents a significant win for Council against landowners who allow buildings to fall into a state of disrepair, as it paves the way for owners of neglected buildings to be prosecuted, even if the building does not present a risk to public safety.
‘The Ritz’ has now been sold to an undisclosed syndicate with the hope that it can finally be restored to its former glory.
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