Property firms 'should be worried' after fire safety fine
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Legal
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A case that saw a Hertfordshire lettings agent fined £40,000 for fire safety failings "must be extremely worrying for renters and landlords alike” a property expert has warned.
Hatfield-based Strats Estate and Letting Agents was last month ordered to pay £41,200 in fines and costs after admitting multiple breaches of health and safety law, in a case brought by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.
Offences included faulty fire doors, defective smoke alarms, insecure handrails and locked fire escapes.
Property expert Kevin Harris, from KIS Lettings Welwyn Garden City, believes the lettings industry needs to improve its reputation.
He said: “The Welwyn and Hatfield area is home to many excellent property companies and personally I’ve only ever heard positive things about Strats - so it’s reassuring to hear that the magistrate in this case commended the company for getting their act together.
“Nonetheless, this should never have happened. Cases like this must be extremely worrying for renters and landlords alike - not to mention very frustrating for those of us who are keen to improve the reputation of the lettings industry.
“If you rent your home, you have a right to expect that your property is safe. It shouldn’t even need saying.
“Landlords who use lettings agents have a right to expect the people they are paying to provide them with expert advice and guidance are on top of issues like this – it shouldn’t need an ex-policeman like me to tell them that if they don’t meet their legal responsibilities they’re risking huge fines or even jail!"
Watford magistrates fined the firm £16,200 for 13 breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations of 2006 and costs of £25,000.
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