Massive fine for lettings agent that committed 15 offences
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing, Legal
A Hounslow letting agent found guilty of 15 housing offences has been hit with £47,540 in costs.
Key Property (UK) Ltd of Bell Road was successfully fined by Hounslow Council after renting out a damp, dangerous and dilapidated property.
The offences related to a property on Cromwell Street which the council investigated following complaints from tenants last year.
Officers inspecting the property found seven tenants living in five separate bedrooms, which included the front and rear living rooms.
They discovered a significant number of defects relating to excess cold, damp and mould, electrical hazards, problems with sanitation and drainage, security, fire safety, structural hazards and hygiene.
A boiler that had been turned off by the manufacturer due to its unsafe installation had been switched back on.
It was also discovered that the property was a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and required a licence to be let out to tenants.
Cllr Steve Curran, cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “The fact the fine for failing to have an HMO licence is one of the largest in the country shows the seriousness of the offences.
“I’m pleased magistrates have thrown the book at this criminal letting agent, as the conditions the tenants were living in - no fire alarms, dangerous gas and electrics, and some of the worst damp and mould our officers have ever seen - were, frankly, appalling.
“They took more than £24,000 in rent from these tenants and left them to live in squalor.
“They tried to avoid their legal responsibilities, but thanks to the hard work of our housing team, we were able to successfully prosecute them.”