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Letting agency fined over condition of landlords' properties

A letting agency has been ordered to pay more than £12,000 in fines and court costs after being convicted of seven charges of failing to carry out repairs and maintenance to a house rented to students.

Leicester city magistrates found IPS (Leicester) Ltd guilty of breaching regulations relating to a house in the Highfields area that was occupied by seven people.

The Leicester Mercury reports that the company was fined £750 for each charge, plus £7,000 costs and a £75 victim surcharge. In the two-day hearing, brought by the local council, the company pleaded not guilty to all charges - and denied it was managing agent for the house.

Lawyers for the council said IPS was managing agent for the house, taking 10 per cent of the rent it collected, and was responsible for dealing with maintenance and repairs.

The Mercury reports that lawyers said the main causes for concern by the tenants included a damaged fire door, damp, stained and cracked plaster, a faulty lock, a broken extractor fan, faults with showers, a collapsed boundary fence, and broken bedroom door frame and cracked window frame. 

The council became involved during February and March 2014, taking photographs of the problem areas and sending letters to the company and the house's owner. 

"The [landlord] did get the work done but IPS denied they were in management - they said they were just rent collectors" a lawyer for the council told the court.

The landlord was fined £1,500 in September last year for failing to apply for a multiple occupation licence, and £500 for failing to display his contact information at the property. 

Two tenants confirmed that when moved into the house they were told they should notify IPS (Leicester) Ltd if any repairs or maintenance were needed - something denied by the company's representative in court. 

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    It seems slightly ridiculous on the part of the Letting Agency that they thought that neglecting the property whilst simultaneously managing it was not going to have consequences...were they hoping the Landlord would take the fall?

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