Letting agent fined £20,000 for safety failures

A letting agency from Reading has reportedly been handed a huge fine of more than £20,000 by local officials after it allowed tenants to live in poor and unsafe conditions.

The agency, Jarvis Properties, was investigated by health and safety officials at Reading Borough Councils after a resident complained about conditions in one of the properties it was responsible for managing.

An inspection of a HMO (house in multiple occupations) on Prospect Street in the west of Reading revealed that instead of the permitted seven tenants who were supposed to be living there, the house had a total of eleven tenants.

There were also problems with fire safety. The property did not have a working fire alarm system, which is one of the first issues covered in any fire safety training course for property landlords. Other problems at the house included a shower and toilet that were filled with foul water, which had begun leaking into the hallway on the floor below.

After admitting the health and safety, as well as the fire safety, offences, Jarvis Properties was fined by Reading Borough Council. The letting agency, which was acting on behalf of the landlord Abdul Sheikh (who was also fined by the council), was ordered to pay more than £20,000 in fines and court costs.