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Letting agency hit with £10,000-plus fine for smoke alarm failings

A London council has fined a letting agency over £10,000 for failing to install smoke alarms in a rental property.

Waltham Forest council has prosecuted Just Move Estates, located in Walthamstow, using powers under the Housing and Planning Act.

The agency claimed that tenants had removed three smoke alarms from a rental property in Leyton. However, upon inspection council offers found no evidence they were ever installed, according to a report in the East London and West Essex Guardian.

The council then proceeded to issue the agency with a civil penalty. The firm originally appealed the fine, before withdrawing and accepting to pay £10,000 plus costs of £750.

Waltham Forest Council becomes one of the first authorities in the capital to prosecute under the Housing and Planning Act for failing to fit smoke alarms in a rental property.

Waltham Forest's cabinet member for housing, Councillor Louise Mitchell, said: "I’m genuinely shocked that an experienced lettings agent like Just Move Estates thought they might get away with this."

"As an established agency, trusted by landlords and tenants alike, they really should know better. We would very much expect this hefty fine will help them to remember their obligations."
London Fire Brigade’s deputy assistant commissioner, Al Perez, added: "Any landlord who fails to fit smoke alarms is not only breaking the law but needlessly putting tenants’ lives at risks."

"We welcome this result for Waltham Forest Council, and we hope this will act as a wake-up call to all landlords that under this legislation it is your responsibility to install measures to keep residents safe from fire."

"It’s absolutely vital to have working smoke alarms fitted on every level of your home. We would also urge everyone to make sure they have one fitted in every room where a fire can start except kitchens or bathrooms where heat alarms are more appropriate," he said.

"They give the earliest warning possible when there’s a fire and there’s no excuse for landlords not to fit them."

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