27 Sep 2022

A letting agent which provides housing to students in Lincoln could have its licence revoked. 

The City of Lincoln Council has proposed revoking the licence of ‘rogue landlord’ Orange Living Limited, which trades as Loc8me, following a conviction for four offences of operating an unlicensed house of multiple occupancy (HMO) in the Midlands.

The council have determined that both Orange Living Limited and its director Raffaele Russo are ‘not fit and proper’ to hold a HMO licence or manage a licensed HMO – and are now taking legal action.

The firm was previously called Charlestown Student Properties Limited until it changed its name in January.

In October 2019, Leicestershire Live reported the letting agent was fined £80,000 for failing to have the correct licence for shared houses it rented out.

A council investigation was triggered after a fire in the attic of one of the properties in Loughborough leased out by the company.

It led to Charnwood Borough Council officials discovering the Loughborough-based firm had four three-storey homes in the town which should have had houses of multiple occupation (HMO) licences but did not.

The letting agent admitted four offences under the Housing Act 2004 at Leicester Magistrates Court last week after it was prosecuted by the council. It was fined £20,000 for each.

Orange Living accepted it had failed to license the properties, as required by the legislation, and was subsequently placed on a rogue landlord database for two years.

In October 2018, Charnwood Borough Council was informed that Leicestershire Fire and Rescue had been called to a fire in the attic of a three-storey building in Forest Road.

Firefighters discovered the smoke detection was battery-only and that some of the batteries were missing.

The detector in the attic had sounded, but not very loudly, and there were no fire doors along the protected escape route from the second floor.

One of the residents in the property said they had informed Loc8me’s maintenance team twice about the issue with the faulty detector and lack of fire doors in the days leading up to the fire.

According to their website, Loc8me provides student accommodation in Lincoln, Hull, London, Loughborough and Nottingham.

It currently has around 17 properties still showing on its site as available, located at sites across Lincoln city centre.

Sara Boothright, environmental health and corporate safety manager at City of Lincoln Council, said: “The council is currently involved in an ongoing legal process with Charlestown Student Properties Limited and Orange Living Limited (trading as Locate8Me).

“It would, therefore, be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage.”

Mr Russo has declined to comment.

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