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HMO licence holder fined £25,000 due to fire safety breaches
14 March 2023
PROPERTY LICENCE holder Zivile Aksinaviciene has been fined a total of £25,800 by West Northamptonshire Council after “serious safety issues” were discovered at a shared house on Lutterworth Road in Northampton.
West Northamptonshire Council executed a warrant at the premises in May last year after concerns were raised. During the inspection process, the electrical meter was found to have been tampered with, seriously endangering the safety of the four people in residence.
Subsequently, West Northamptonshire Council instructed an electrician to attend the property and carry out emergency work to make it safe. Along with the unsafe electrics, a number of fire safety breaches were identified, among them poorly maintained fire doors and missing smoke alarms.
In December last year, West Northamptonshire Council fined Ms Aksinaviciene (of J&KO Property Ltd) £25,000 for breaching licence conditions in relation to a house in multiple occupation (HMO). Aksinaviciene had three months to appeal against the decision, which has now passed.
Property redress scheme
Anyone engaging in lettings 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. On the basis that Aksinaviciene was not part of such a scheme, she 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 the premises has been converted into a single-family house.
This case highlights the importance of licensing HMO properties and the need for those in charge of them to ensure any occupants are not put at risk.
Councillor Adam Brown, West Northamptonshire Council’s cabinet member for housing, culture and leisure, observed: “From some of the images captured at this address, it’s clear the licensee had little regard for the safety of the tenants. The housing team cannot visit every property, but this case demonstrates that we will take action when people contact us and voice their concerns over safety issues.”
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