A LANDLORD at crumbling Clune Park is refusing to pay council tax for a property which has no electricity and access by road.

Property developer Mulu Tafari bought flats in the rundown area at auction with the intention of refurbishing and renting them out, even though the council is determined to bulldoze the whole estate.

The new landlord says he was stunned when he discovered the council had served a dangerous building order and there was no electricity supply.

Now he is threatening court action.

Mr Tafari, 57, from Wolverhampton, said: "I am up for a fight.

"The council cannot unfairly penalise a landlord who has valid reason not to bring their property into habitation.

"I am not allowed to live or rent somewhere out if it has no electricity and the road is blocked.

"When I contact Scottish Power to connect me I am told that as far as they are aware there are closing order on buildings on the street."

The road to the property in Clune Park Street has been blocked to protect the public from falling debris with blocks of flats on either side classed as dangerous as a result.

But Mr Tafari claims there is nothing wrong with the structures.

He said: "Me and my team will come up and fix the flat up.

"These are beautiful, good solid houses.

"People would pay big money somewhere else.

"Don't just knock them down, fix them up."

The rundown Clune Park area has long been an eyesore in the landscape in Inverclyde, with the council facing court battles in a bid to force demolitions.

But Mulu said: "If you want a closing order on the flats then you have to give me back what I paid for them - I am not going to accept £1,000.

"But there is no need for that, this could be a lovely place to live."

A spokesperson for Inverclyde Council said: “We have served Dangerous Buildings Notices on 1 and 7 Clune Park Street.

"We have fenced off the street to protect members of the public from the danger of falling masonry because the buildings may collapse or suffer structural failure at any time.

Council tax has to be paid on all residential property unless it has been served with a Closing Notice or a Dangerous Buildings Notice.

"If a property is unoccupied and unfurnished the owner is exempt from council tax for the first six months that it is empty.

"After this they must pay 50 per cent.

"When a property has been empty and unoccupied for a year then the owner must pay their full council tax plus a further 100 per cent levy.

“Home owners are responsible for organising their own electrical supply.”