Friday, June 5, 2020

Housing company ordered to pay £9,600 in court

A housing company has been ordered to pay more than £9,600 for breaching housing legislation.

Larkman Properties Ltd pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to comply with housing management regulations at a property on Westfield Lane, Mansfield, and one charge of failing to licence a house in multiple occupation (HMO) on Bentinck Street, Mansfield. The company appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 25 September 2019 in a case brought by Mansfield District Council.

Council officers inspected the property on Westfield Lane, Mansfield in February 2019. They found that the property had defective fire doors, no working smoke alarms, poorly maintained bathroom and kitchen, no handrail to the staircase and smashed and boarded first floor bedroom windows.

An inspection was carried out at the property on Bentinck Street, Mansfield in June 2019 following a complaint about overflowing bins and rubbish. The property was found to be housing five people as an unlicensed HMO.

Company director Mr Michael Foreman said difficult tenants were constantly causing damage to the Westfield Lane property, and that since the inspection the company had carried out repair works to the property to ensure it was complying with the regulations.

He said when a new tenant moved into the Bentinck Street property, a different tenant should have been moving out at the same time but this didn’t happen meaning there were then five tenants and he, on behalf of the company, subsequently forgot to apply for the licence.

Larkman Properties Ltd was fined £1,000 for each offence of failing to comply with The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and section 234 of the Housing Act 2004, and fined £3,000 for failing to have an HMO licence – an offence under section 72 of the Housing Act 2004. The company was also ordered to pay the council’s costs of £2,434.58 and a surcharge of £170.

Cllr Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “This is a fantastic result and shows we will always seek to take legal action against any landlords who put their tenants’ health and safety at risk.

“HMOs can provide a valuable source of affordable housing but if not properly managed and maintained, they can pose a significant health and safety risk to occupiers. In this case, there were no working fire alarms and fire doors were defective.

“The council works closely with private landlords to ensure that their properties are properly maintained and do not pose a risk to tenants but we will not hesitate to prosecute where there are significant failings.”

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