The Rogue Landlord Team of a local authority has triggered a civil penalty notice resulting in a fine of over £21,000 for a company managing an HMO.
Mecca Properties M/CR, based in Manchester, was issued a civil penalty notice in August 2020 after an HMO it managed was found to have breached regulations.
The company appealed the fine through the First-Tier Residential Property Tribunal, which upheld Manchester council's decision to impose the penalty agreeing that the firm was guilty of ‘systematic failings’ and the breaches were significant enough to warrant the civil penalty notice, ordering the company to pay £21,499.
On inspection, the council’s Rogue Landlord team found fundamental fire safety breaches, including obstructions to escape ways in the event of a fire – with doors that could not be unlocked without a key in order to escape in the event of emergency - and the property did not have any smoke alarms on the first inspection.
The management company also failed to provide a gas safety certificate when requested, and deficiencies were found in the electrical installation.
Parts of the property were found to be in a poor state of repair, including the hallway floors and missing tiling in the bathroom. The property was also found to be dirty and a window in the kitchen was broken and covered with a ‘to let’ sign.
Council officers attempted to engage the management company on a number of occasions to address the issues at the property and support them to mitigate the serious fire safety breaches – such as fitting temporary fire alarms – but to no avail.
The investigation of the property was part of a focused day of action targeted private rented sector properties on the road, which led to the council issuing two emergency prohibition orders, two notices for emergency repair works, two improvement notices and four £300 demand notices
In the last year, the council has issued 39 improvement notices, 10 hazard awareness notices, and has issued 28 civil penalties totaling £288,674.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Manchester council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, says: “The private rented sector is one of the fastest growing in the city and our residents need decent properties that they can trust, with landlords that take their responsibilities to their tenants seriously.
“We know that the vast majority of landlords and managing agents are very good, but for those that are not, I hope that this sort of action serves as a real warning. This management agent showed systematic failings and is now thousands of pounds out of pocket. The level of fine shows that we are looking for you and we will use the full extent of the law to bring you to account.
“If you or someone you know is concerned with the way your property is being managed, please get in touch. We can help.”
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