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Colchester landlord fined over unlicensed property contracts

PUBLISHED: 16:55 15 May 2019

Colchester council took the landlord and property agent to court Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Colchester council took the landlord and property agent to court Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

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A landlord and property management company who ignored tenants' complaints about poor property standards in an unlicensed property in Colchester have been fined more than £16,000.

Landlord Jide Olugbodi pleaded guilty to the offences of failing to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Albany Gardens, Colchester, and breaching numerous HMO management regulations at a hearing at Chelmsford Magistrates Court.

Saxons Lettings and Management Ltd had previously pleaded guilty to all charges, at the same court last December.

Olugbodi was ordered to pay more than £6,000 in fines, costs and victim surcharges.

Saxons Lettings and Management Ltd was ordered to pay more than £10,000 in fines, costs and victim surcharges.

The five tenants who moved into the property in Albany Gardens, Colchester, in September 2017 experienced a range of problems including the cooker and refrigerator not working and a lack of bins to dispose of waste and recycling.

The tenants had repeatedly raised concerns with Saxons Lettings and Management Ltd, who managed the property on behalf of Olugbodi, but nothing was done.

In November 2017, the tenants contacted Colchester Borough Council's private sector housing team.

During an inspection of the property, an Environmental Health Officer identified multiple breaches of HMO management regulations and found it to be occupied by five unrelated residents, which required the property to be licensed.

However, no licence application had been submitted. An application was subsequently made, and Olugbodi has now been issued an HMO licence.

Colchester council leader Mark Cory said: "We are committed, as a council, to improving living standards for tenants in the private rented sector, including houses in multiple occupation, which provide an affordable housing option for many residents in the borough.

"Failure to apply for a licence to operate an HMO or to comply with housing regulations are criminal offences and the council will always take whatever action is necessary to ensure legal compliance and safe living conditions for residents."

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