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Agency fined after admitting substandard safety

Friday 23 August 2019

A property agency has been fined £3,000 by Bolton Magistrates Court after putting tenants’ lives at risk with substandard safety measures.

Miller Metcalfe Estate Agents Ltd appeared in court for sentencing having admitted three offences relating to a property in Deansgate.

The court heard how the building was home to two ground floor businesses and a single flat on the first floor, where the same tenant had lived since 1985.

After taking over management of the upper residential floors of the property in April 2017, Miller Metcalfe subsequently let out the second and third floors, which formed a second flat, to three more tenants.

This meant the property was reclassified as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), meaning the management company had to follow strict safety requirements.

Officers discovered that there was no fire protected escape route that would allow the occupants to safely get out of the building in the event of a fire and was not fitted with the required interlinked fire alarm system to provide early warning in the event of a fire.

The company also failed to put their contact details on display in the property, as stipulated by HMO regulations.

The council served an Emergency Prohibition Order immediately preventing the second and third floors from being used for residential accommodation and the occupants were found alternative accommodation.

In court, Miller Metcalfe admitted it had not taken all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their tenants.

As well as the fine, the court also ordered Miller Metcalfe to pay £1,496 in costs together with a £120 victim surcharge.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Adele Warren, said: “Everyone has a right to feel safe in their own home and this result sends a clear message to landlords that put people at risk by cutting corners or ignoring regulations.

“As a council, our first priority is to work constructively with landlords to help them comply with all the relevant legislation.

“However, we will not hesitate to take legal action against those that flout the rules and put profits before the health and safety of Bolton residents.”

Propertymark resources

ARLA Propertymark members can access our Licensing of Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) fact sheet which breaks down the requirements, what it means, the enforcement and more.

Fact sheets 

ARLA Propertymark members also have access to a free legal helpline which sets out to help you with all of your legal inquiries.

Legal helpline