smoke alarm letting agents

15 Mar 23

One of the issues that we highlight at Landlord Licensing & Defence is that you can’t rely on letting agents to meet the legal obligations that come with renting out property in the UK. 

That’s been put into focus this week with news that a letting agent has been fined £25,800 for serious fire safety breaches. 

The West Northamptonshire Council found during an inspection, that someone had tampered with the electric meter which endangered the safety of the four tenants in the property. 

The council then immediately instructed an electrician to make the property safe, the council also found several other fire safety breaches including missing smoke alarms and poorly maintained fire doors.  Unfortunately, when we visit clients for an inspection, these are issues that we find regularly, so if you want to avoid a hefty fine and prosecution, then it’s time to speak to the experts. Contact us today for a free 10 minute diagnostic call on 020 8088 0788 or fill in the online form here.

In December 2022, the council fined Z. A. of J&KO Property Ltd £25,000 for breaching license conditions for a house in multiple occupation (HMO). She had three months to appeal against the decision, which has now passed.

Anyone engaging in letting or property management work must also belong to a property redress scheme which gives tenants the opportunity to seek independent help if their landlord or managing agent is ignoring their concerns. Aksinaviciene was not part of such a scheme, so was fined an additional £800.

Following execution of the warrant, the owner took back responsibility for the property and carried out further work to make it safe. The HMO licence has subsequently been surrendered and it has been converted to a single-family house.

West Northamptonshire Council says this case highlights the importance of not only licensing a HMO property but the requirement to maintain the property to ensure the occupants are not put at risk.

Cllr Adam Brown, WNC’s cabinet member for housing, culture and leisure, said: “From some of the images captured at this address, it is clear the licensee had little regard for the safety of their tenants. “The Housing Team cannot visit every property, but this case demonstrates that we will take action when people contact us with their concerns.”

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