Landlord fined after flat hazards

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A SKEGNESS Landlord and his company have been fined a total over £8,000 for failing to address a string of issues at 21 Scarborough Avenue – a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO). Darren Lawes of North Lopham, Diss, was served an Improvement Notice by East Lindsey District Council on April 28, 2011, requesting that a string of hazards in the property were addressed. Hazards included excess cold due to inadequate heating; lack of fire doors and fire detections system; gas certificates were not produced to show gas works had been properly undertaken and guard rails to the landings were not of a good standard. Although some of the issues were resolved, some of the work undertaken hadn’t been carried out properly.

Mr Lawes had installed a new central heating boiler to supply two flats, it had been installed in one flat, leaving that one tenant to pay the heating costs for both flats.

Appearing before Skegness Magistrates Court on September 5, 2012, Mr Lawes pleaded guilty and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £1,284 in costs. On the same day, 21 Scarborough Avenue Limited, a company which Mr Lawes is the sole director and which owns the freehold of the property, was charged with failing to comply with The Licensing and Management of Houses of Multiple Occupation Act, including the duty of manager to maintain common parts, including fixtures, fittings and appliances.

Mr Lawes was also charged with failing to provide documents under Section 235 of the Housing Act. Mr Lawes pleaded guilty to all charges and the company was fined £2,650 and ordered to pay £2,662 costs.

The flats are currently subject to a Prohibition Order preventing their use until all works are completed to a satisfactory standard.

Councillor William Gray, Portfolio Holder for Housing at the Council, said: “Our efforts to clamp down on rogue landlords who fail to maintain their properties to a standard which is acceptable will continue. Everyone deserves the right to live in a good standard of home and we will continue to do all we can to make this possible.”