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A letting company has been fined over a string of defects at its shared accommodation for vulnerable adults.

Salop Lets, based in Madeley, Telford, has been ordered to pay more than £43,000 after pleading guilty to 24 offences under the Housing Act 2004.

The company had previously tried to blame the problems on its tenants – vulnerable adults who lived in three houses of multiple occupation in Hurleybrook Way, Leegomery.

The defects included broken and damaged fire doors and incomplete and missing safety certification for the the fire alarm systems, Telford Magistrates Court head.

General faults such as broken showers, damaged kitchen units and broken or missing lighting units were also found, as well as emergency fire alarms and lighting being connected to a pre-paid metered electricity supply, meaning when the meter ran out, the emergency systems did not work.

The issues were brought to light following an inspection from environmental health and a fire safety officer from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

An initial complaint was made back in February.

The court heard improvement notices had been served to ensure the properties were brought up to the required standard, but the work was either done to a poor standard or not at all.

In one instance the company installed a second-hand fire door claiming it to be new.

Prosecuting, Sarah Morgan, said: “Very little work was done during the operation of the improvement notices.

“I would draw your attention to the past history of the company and consider that they were cost-cutting with a view to profit.

“They were a professional management company. They chose to house vulnerable tenants but failed to manage the risks associated with this”.

The court heard that since 2015 housing benefit totalling nearly £1.5 million had been paid in respect of properties managed by Salop Lets.

The company was fined £31,500 and ordered to pay £11,462.07 costs and £170 surcharge.

Sentencing the company, district judge Rebecca Crane said it had fallen far short of the housing standards expected and had ignored concerns raised by Telford & Wrekin Council, adding that there was a risk of death or life-changing injury from the company’s failure to maintain fire alarms and fire doors.

Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for housing and enforcement, said: “The safety of our residents is of paramount importance.

“That is why we are working hard to make sure that private rented housing is safe for tenants to live in.

“Earlier this year we set up the rogue landlord taskforce as part of our Better Homes For All package to improve housing in the private rented sector.

“This case highlights the vital work of this taskforce in keeping people safe.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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