Shamed agents fined

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Two Letting agents have been fined over £20,000 for failing to provide licences for their properties in Grays.

Thurrock Council have clamped down on the two letting agents who put their tenants at ‘unnecessary risk’ by overcrowding.

The letting agents have been fined thousands of pounds after allowing their tenants to be at risk by overcrowding and not putting their tenants and failing to licence six shared houses.

The houses in Martello Close, Grays, were bought by Mews Investments Limited in April 2017 and let to MEO Lettings and Management Limited, which then individually let the rooms.

Illegal

Thurrock Council became aware that the homes were being occupied as ‘houses in multiple occupation’ (HMO) without being properly licensed a month later.

An unannounced visit also revealed that the properties were overcrowded and not meeting the Essex Amenity Standards for HMOs.

Mews Investments Limited and its director Alan Webb, of Shepherds Hill, Romford, and MEO Lettings and Management Limited and its director Peter Guzmicky, of London Road, Grays, each pleaded guilty to six charges of failure to licence under the Housing Act 2004 and received hefty fines when they were sentenced at Colchester Magistrates’ Court last Thursday December 6.

Webb was fined £6,000, ordered to pay £5,011 in costs and a £100 victim surcharge, while his company Mews Investments Limited was fined £6,000 and forced to pay £1,180 in costs along with a £100 victim surcharge.

Guzmicky and MEO Lettings and Management Limited were each fined £3,000, ordered to pay £1,180 in costs and a £50 victim surcharge.

Councillor Barry Johnson, portfolio holder for Housing, said: “These two companies are well-established letting agents in the borough and should have been well aware of their licensing responsibilities.

“By failing to apply for licences and overcrowding these properties they put their tenants at completely unnecessary risk while lining their own and their companies pockets and thought that Thurrock Council would not notice.

“This prosecution sends a very clear message that we will not tolerate landlords and letting agents flouting the rules.

“We take this kind of law breaking very seriously especially when it comes to our resisdents homes.”

Thurrock Council eventually received applications for HMO licences for the six houses in December 2017, nearly eight months after they first let the rooms. The houses are now licensed.

If you think you know of a house that does not have a license please contact the council.

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