A Leicester estate agent which offers “guaranteed rent” has been ordered to pay more than £12,000 in fines and court costs for failing to maintain a student property.
IPS (Leicester) Ltd, in London Road was convicted of seven charges of failing to carry out repairs and maintenance to a house in Highfields, Leicester rented to students.
The agency was fined £750 for each charge, plus £7,000 costs and a £75 victim surcharge.
The firm was prosecuted by Leicester City Council. It pleaded not guilty to all charges, denying it was managing agent for the house.
According to the Leicester Mercury, Nicki Agalamanyi, for the council, said IPS (Leicester) Ltd was managing agent for the house, taking 10% of the rent it collected, and was responsible for dealing with maintenance and repairs.
The property had numerous defects including: a damaged fire door; damp, stained and cracked plaster on the landing ceiling, first floor and ground floor; a faulty lock on the front door; a broken extractor fan in a downstairs toilet; a non-working electric shower on the first floor; an overflowing blocked shower on the second floor; a collapsed boundary fence at the rear garden; a cracked and broken bedroom door frame and cracked window frames, letting water into a bedroom.
Yet despite complaints to IPS, nothing was done. The council was notified and contacted both the agency and the landlord Dr Obas Ebohon.
Agalamanyi said: "The doctor did get the work done but IPS denied they were in management – they said they were just rent collectors."
Ebohon was fined £1,500 in September last year for failing to have a HMO licence for the property.
Agalamanyi said: "Dr Ebohon owns 10 properties, manages the other nine himself and is now licensed."
Of IPS's claim it was not the managing agent for the property in question, she added: "It is rather strange that (Dr Ebohon) should agree to pay a company 10% just to collect rents and nothing else – no management involved."
Two tenants confirmed that when moved into the house they were told they should notify IPS (Leicester) Ltd if any repairs or maintenance were needed, something denied by the company's representative, Suraj Puri.
According to IPS’ website it offers let only, rent collection and guaranteed rent services.