A landlord has been ordered to pay £20,000 after being found guilty of nine offences in relation to a house in multiple occupation.
Cyril Thomas, who runs property management company Platinum Crown Investments Ltd, was fined £1,000 for each of the offences and ordered to pay over £11,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £100 by Colchester Magistrates, totalling over £20,000.
In December 2015, inspections revealed that the accommodation - described by the council as a flat above the letting office in Colchester - had been poorly converted without Building Regulations approval.
The authority says this contributed to breaches of HMO management regulations including increased fire risks and an inaccessible fuse box which caused residents to be left in the cold and dark for two nights after the electrics tripped.
After the hearing Thomas told Letting Agent Today that the judges showed sympathy for his situation by stating he could pay over a period of 20 months.
Thomas says he is going to appeal but issued this statement: “I’m disappointed with the decision that has been taken in regards to prosecuting me in my personal name. However, I’m pleased that Platinum Crown has been acquitted of all 10 charges that were brought against it.
“Having given careful consideration to the way in which this case has been handled, my legal advisors believe we have grounds to appeal and an appeal has now been lodged.
“As previously mentioned, Platinum Crown takes its property management responsibilities extremely seriously and generally enjoys an excellent working relationship with Colchester Borough Council.”