Letting Agent Ordered To Pay Over £25,000 For Serious Fire Safety Breaches

A letting agent in Northampton has been fined a total of £25,800 after serious safety issues were discovered at a shared house in Northampton.

The West Northamptonshire Council executed a warrant at the Lutterworth Road property in May last year after concerns were raised over its safety.

During the inspection, the electrical meter was found to have been tampered with, seriously endangering the safety of the four people living there. The council instructed an electrician to attend the property to carry out emergency work to make the property safe.

Along with the unsafe electrics, a number of fire safety breaches were identified, including poorly maintained fire doors and missing smoke alarms.

In December 2022, the council fined Zivile Aksinaviciene 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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