Warning to landlords as letting agent is fined £10,000 over ‘hazards’

Fox and Sons
Fox and Sons

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A LEAKY radiator, damp on walls, a loose front-door lock and holes in skirting boards have landed a letting agent with a £10,000 fine.

Tenants at a home in Seagrove Road, North End, were left with a window they could not open, poor coverage of smoke alarms and defective guttering.

We hope this case reminds landlords of their responsibility to provide suitable and safe accommodation for tenants

Bruce Lomax

Water was leaking from the first-floor front bedroom and from the bath.

Portsmouth City Council handed letting agent Fox & Sons, the trading name for Sequence UK Ltd, an improvement notice demanding the firm clear up the hazards.

And when the notice was not completed, the council prosecuted the company.

Sequence, of Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard, admitted failing to comply with an improvement notice relating to a category two hazard between August 17 and September 28 last year at 75 Seagrove Road.

City magistrates fined the firm £10,000 with a £170 victim charge and £230 costs.

Bruce Lomax, private sector housing manager, said: ‘We took action in this case after Sequence failed to complete work to improve a number of hazards identified in the property including damp and mould growth, cold, domestic hygiene and pests. Due to concerns for the tenants’ health, safety and welfare we felt it appropriate to take formal enforcement and an improvement notice was served.’

He said the council took action when Sequence failed to complete all the work and professional contractors were now doing the work, with the cost recovered.

He added: ‘We hope this case reminds landlords of their responsibility to provide suitable and safe accommodation for tenants.’

A Sequence spokeswoman said the firm accepted the fine but an ‘administrative error’ meant the notice was not received by the correct team.

She added it worked with the council, landlord and tenants to get the work done.

‘We have put in corrective measures to ensure the administrative error does not happen again and apologise to the tenants for any detriment caused,’ she said.

Problems at the home included no kitchen door, no plugs in a bedroom, a loose light switch, poor lighting in the bathroom, holes in skirting in the lounge, hallway and a gap in the bedroom.

There was ill-fitting vinyl flooring in the bathroom, which was mouldy.