Lettings of London Ltd has been ordered to pay more than £50,000 after pleading guilty to 18 offences largely relating to fire safety in two separate houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Hatfield.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC) decided to take action against the letting agent, which owns the two properties on Goldings Crescent in Welwyn Garden City, after officers found, upon inspection, several deficiencies, including the fact that fire safety equipment in both HMOs had ‘not been maintained in good working order’.
It transpired that there were no working fire alarms or fire blankets at either property, while the fire door self closers were not working, emergency lighting was broken, while on a non fire safety basis, there were both ‘loose coping stones and rusted metal handrails’ on an external staircase outside one of the two houses.
At Stevenage Magistrates’ Court, the company pleaded guilty to the 18 offences however, and was fined £42,596 and ordered to pay costs of £10,626 to the council, in addition to a victim surcharge of £170.
Simone Russell, corporate director at WHBC, commented: “This is the second case this year with one of the largest fines we have seen for offences relating to HMO properties. These were serious breaches of the law and could have led to severe injury or worse.
“Everyone should feel confident when renting a property in Welwyn Hatfield and it’s important that we send a clear message to the small number of landlords who compromise the safety of their tenants - we will always act to protect our residents. Landlords can join our council-run accreditation scheme, PAL, which makes it easier for landlords to understand meet high standards of management practice.”