An estate agency in Bolton has admitted three offences in relation to breaches of safety standards at an HMO in the town centre and has been fined £3,000 in addition to costs and a victim surcharge totalling £1,616.
Representatives of Miller Metcalfe Estate Agents Ltd appeared during a hearing at Bolton magistrates to receive the fine, during which it was revealed that the HMO had no fire protected escape route for its residents, and that the property had not been fitted with an interlinked fire alarm system.
In court the estate agency admitted it had not taken the necessary measures to ensure the safety of all the tenants, and that it had not put its contact details on display within the property, as HMO regulations require.
The court heard that Miller Metcalfe took over management of the property (pictured, above) in 2017. Originally it included two commercial units on the ground floor, two empty floors above and a flat on the top floor.
Miller Metcalfe subsequently rented out the empty floors, creating a second flat and renting it out to three tenants.
This made the property an HMO and therefore the safety features of the building were required to be upgraded, but were not.
Following the discovery of this by council officers, an emergency prohibition was served preventing the second and third floors being used for residential purposes, and the tenants rehoused.
“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,” says Bolton councillor Adele Warren (left).