North East Lincolnshire Council

Company fined after letting substandard house to staff

A car cleaning company has been handed a court bill of £2,190 after pleading guilty to sub-letting a house to five of its staff when only two should have been living there.

Chadwick Greene & Co Ltd, trading as National Car Cleaning Company, were taken to Grimsby Magistrates’ Court by North East Lincolnshire Council and its partner ENGIE.

It’s the second successful prosecution for housing offences in a month.

Housing enforcement officers found five people sharing a house in The Orchards, Immingham, when they visited under warrant on 28 February 2017.

All five were working for the National Car Cleaning Company and were paying £40 per week rent each. The tenancy agreement said only two employees should have been living there.

The group occupied the property as two households and it should have been registered with the Council as a house of multiple occupation (HMO), which need additional safety precautions compared to a single family home.

During the visit, officers found the following violations of laws for HMOs:

  • No fire alarms
  • Lights not working on the stairs and first floor
  • Front and patio doors did not have the correct locks
  • No door between the entrance and the kitchen
  • Loose carpet at the top of the stairs
  • Contact details for the property manager weren’t displayed correctly.

A Section 43, Emergency Prohibition Order under the Housing Act 2004, was served on 3 March – it banned the property from being used as a HMO until the property was brought up to HMO standards or not to be occupied by more than two people.

Chadwick Greene & Co Ltd were fined £300 for four offences, ordered to pay £960 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Cllr Peter Wheatley, cabinet member responsible for housing, said:

“Landlords must make sure their HMOs are safe and managed in accordance with the law. You could be putting lives at risk if you don’t.

“If you manage, let or sublet a property, you need to make sure it’s safe and legal for your tenants to live there. If any in doubt, visit the housing pages on our website, www.nelincs.gov.uk/housing, or contact the housing team for advice.

“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.”

 

What is a HMO?

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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