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Lettings firm and director fined for inadequate living conditions

A lettings firm has been ordered to pay over £18,000 after failing to provide adequate living conditions for his tenants.

Chelmsford magistrates fined Palmview Estates and the company's sole director Hersch Sternlicht for letting undersized rooms. 

The court heard that Prohibition Orders were made on the four undersized rooms by Thurrock council back in September 2017. 


The council reviewed the Orders in 2019 and found that two of the rooms had nonetheless been let to new tenants.

Magistrates fined Palmview Estates Limited a total of £7,000, a £190 victim surcharge and costs of £3,551. 

Sternlicht was also fined £4,000, a £190 victim surcharge and costs of £3,551. Sternlicht plans to appeal the decision.

The council also issued a Civil Penalty Notice to Sternlicht for the same property for breaches found under the HMO management regulations in 2019. 

These included a water leak to the hallway ceiling from a defective boiler and inadequate fire safety measures.

A council spokesman says: "We will continue to target exploitative landlords to ensure that those living in shared accommodation have access to a good quality home and safe place to live in.

"Landlords and letting agents must ensure any properties they rent out are up to code and are licensed, where appropriate. Failure to do so is an offence which can result in prosecution or a fine of up to £30,000."

  • Barry X

    I don't know the facts or circumstances, other than what it says here BUT my first thought is that two different people were apparently willing to rent, pay for and live in those rooms.

    Presumably the landlord couldn't make those four rooms any bigger so that would have meant that - had the Prohibition Order been observed - none of them would ever be available again. The fact that two of them were subsequently successfully let does suggest to me that two tenants benefited from a choice that the council had tried to deny them.

    I've no idea what size the rooms actually were, or how practical living in them would be, or what rent they were being offered for (and how that compared to rents in the same area for larger rooms) and also whether or not those rooms were "a main home" or just handy pied-à-terres (perhaps literally!) or something for those tenants.... unless ALL of those facts and potential compromises are considered, how can anyone know whether or not the rooms provide "adequate living conditions"?

    Adequate for WHAT? Who decides;
    (a) the tenants - who must have viewed the rooms and thought about it and know what they needed?
    (b) The landlord who must have decided to offer them and knows the market and competition and what people are looking for?
    Or (c) someone at the council who wasn't going to live there, didn't know or care about the market and had completely different priorities (not necessarily very honest ones) from either the potential tenant looking for somewhere to live or landlord trying to attract tenants in order to make a living?

    IF the landlord was offering what those tenants actually wanted - let's imagine - at, say, a bargain rent, then is the landlord REALLY being "exploitative"?

    I'd be interested to know what other people think.



    I think it’s just another example of the arrogance and ignorance of local authorities. We let these govern over us and everything they get involved with is always worse off for there interference.


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