North East Lincolnshire Council

Company fined after letting house to four staff

An Immingham company has been fined £750 and ordered to pay £819 costs after letting a substandard property to a group of its workers.
Housing enforcement officers from North East Lincolnshire Council’s partnership with ENGIE found four men to be sharing a house in Chestnut Avenue, Immingham, when they visited on 28 March 2017.
All four men were working at SAR Metals Ltd in Manby Road and had their rent deducted directly from their salary, but none of them had a tenancy agreement.
Two of the men were related but two others weren’t. This meant the house would be classed as a House in Multiple Occupation and therefore would require additional fire precautions compared to a single family home.
Housing enforcement officers executed a warrant to search the premises with officers from Humberside Police and Home Office Immigration Enforcement after reports that six men were suspected of living at the property.
On the ground floor the lounge had been converted into a bedroom and there was also a dining room, a conservatory and the kitchen. Upstairs were four bedrooms and two bathrooms. A door from the kitchen led to the garage where three more beds were stored.
Officers found that smoke detectors were either missing or not working , the front and back doors did not have the correct locks and contact details for the property manager weren’t displayed.
A representative from the company was invited to attend an interview under caution but they did not attend, however a letter from the firm’s solicitor said they intended to fully comply to bring the property up to the required standards.

Cllr Peter Wheatley, cabinet member responsible for housing, said: “It’s essential that anyone who lets or sublets a property understands the law. If any in doubt, visit the housing pages on our website, www.nelincs.gov.uk/housing, or contact the housing team for advice.
“Landlords must make sure their HMOs meet the necessary legal fire requirement and managed correctly. You could be putting lives at risk if you don’t.
“Poor quality housing has all sorts of repercussions, not just on the quality of life of tenants, but also neighbouring properties and the wider community. “

An HMO is a property where part of the accommodation is shared. It applies to both bedsit style housing and shared housing where a group of three people forming two households share a house or a flat.
For more information visit www.nelincs.gov.uk/housing.

The Council and its partner ENGIE are calling on the public to report suspicions about privately rented properties in the borough.

Problems people are asked to look out for include the following:
Overcrowding in private rented properties
Unsafe accommodation over commercial premises, such as flats with no fire escapes above takeaways
Unlicensed houses of multiple occupation (properties that have been divided up into bedsits without permission)
Landlords illegally evicting their tenants

To report concerns please call 01472 324727 or email homeimprovementteam@nelincs.gov.uk.
All reports will be handled sensitively and in the strictest confidence.

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