A property guardianship firm that shoe horned tenants into a derelict care home has been fined for breaking house in multiple occupation rules.
Camelot Guardian Management Company stopped squatters moving into commercial property by encouraging tenants to live in the empty properties in return for reduced rents.
But council housing officers were appalled when they found 30 tenants living in a ‘slum’ with blocked fire escapes, overflowing sewers and a room full of containers of foul smelling clinical waste.
The company had no HMO licence for the property and committed a catalogue of health and safety offences.
Although the company was convicted of 15 HMO offences at Colchester Magistrates Court, the court was limited to imposing a nominal fine of £100 for each as the company went into administration before the hearing.
The court also ordered the company should pay £10,000 costs.
Online estate agent Claire Ainsworth was convicted of fraud in her absence at Blackburn Magistrates Court.
She took £5,000 from the sale of a home after inflating the price for the buyer.
The court deferred sentencing.
Letting agent Masons Estates (East Anglia) and directors Jay and Ralph Bernard were ordered to pay fines and costs of £25,357 for allowing tenants to live in an unsafe and unlicensed HMO.
Suffolk Magistrates Court was told the Bernards allowed up to 27 people to live in a four bedroom home in Ipswich. The home had dangerous electrical wiring, missing smoke detectors, poorly maintained water supply and drainage, filthy floors, unsafe sockets, unsafe light fittings, dangerous stairways and rubbish strewed in the garden.
The directors and the company were found guilty of 17 HMO offences after denying the charges.
Ian Persaud, defending, told the court neither director nor the firm had known about the state of the property.
“These cases normally concern defendants who knew something should have been done and failed to deal with it,” he said.