Latest News

Skills for jobs

14 May 2021

The UK Government set out in the Queen’s speech on 11 May, its legislative plans for adult education and training for the next parliamentary session with a proposed Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. Read More...

Commonhold Council launched

14 May 2021

An advisory panel of leasehold and industry groups has been launched to inform the UK Government on the future of commonhold homeownership. Read More...

Leasehold Reform Bill published

13 May 2021

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill has been published today, 13 May, and when implemented aims to help tackle inconsistency and ambiguity of ground rents for future leaseholders. Read More...

Changes to notice periods for evictions

12 May 2021

The UK Government has announced that from 1 June 2021 notice periods in England that are currently six months, will now be reduced to four months. Read More...

Fines for HMOs underpins need to take fire safety seriously

Wednesday 28 April 2021

There has been a series of high-profile fines for landlords and property companies of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) during April for offences related to fire and electrical safety, highlighting the importance of using legitimate, well-trained, and responsible letting agents manage property.

The fines, which range from £6,000 to as high as £60,000, were delivered to landlords for offences that include faulty fire detectors, lack of fire doors and electrical defects.

HMO hazards

All the fines were to landlords or property companies for failing in their responsibilities to ensure their properties are safe for the tenants, with most of them linked to fire or electrical safety.

On 13 April, Ipswich based Frances Investments and the property owner were convicted on 10 charges after a visit by Suffolk Fire and Rescue found a range of fire safety concerns, in particular the use of an illegal and unsafe basement flat and a lack of fire doors. The offences resulted in a £29,000 fine for the property owner, while Francis Investments had to pay £7,250.

In East London, two landlords were ordered to pay costs and fines totalling over £61,000 for multiple housing offences, specifically the position and condition of appliances in the kitchen, the potential of structural damage to a loose wall at the front of the property and an unsecured back door.

After a fire left six tenants homeless in Barnet, a property company and its director were fined £10,000 after the council found that the property was an unlicensed HMO with no fire doors, no fire extinguishers and an inadequate fire alarm.

Finally, the most recent of the fines took place in Reading, where the landlord was ordered to pay £6,000 for failing to maintain an HMO, which was in significant disrepair, had faulty fire detectors and a damaged fire door.

Propertymark resources

These cases all paint a similar picture of landlords and property managers taking the safety of their tenants for granted and ignoring basic safety guidelines that are set out within the Houses of Multiple Occupation regulations, Gas Safety and Electrical safety standards.

Propertymark has long called for greater enforcement activity to end poor housing provision and we support local authorities that continue to use the tools at their disposal to raise standards.

We have a series of resources and information to help our members make sure both themselves and their clients are complying with the regulations, ensuring the properties they manage are safe and habitable for their tenants.

Our fact sheets on Electrical Safety Standards, Homes Act 2018, Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Legal Responsibilities for Gas Safety are available to Propertymark members which can be downloaded from the member area on the website

Download fact sheets

Our popular Competent Agent training courses, in particular Part B and Part C, cover housing health and safety, The Homes Act and safety regulations. We also offer a dedicated training course on HMOs that helps agents navigate the various penalties that agents could be liable for.

View virtual training

The importance of using a Propertymark Protected agent

Propertymark members operate to professional standards far higher than the law demands and Propertymark campaigns for greater regulation in this growing and increasingly important sector of the property market.

Using a Propertymark Protected agent, consumers will have the peace of mind their agent will provide a professional service and their money is safeguarded by Propertymark’s Client Money Protection scheme. Our find an expert tool will locate agents, details can be found on the ARLA Propertymark website below.

Find an expert