One of Liverpool’s largest property managers has been fined more than £10,000 for allowing student tenants to live in a rat-infested property which also had a host of fire hazards.
BFL Property Management Ltd, which trades as Venmore, were found to be in breach of numerous regulations when they faced magistrates this week. In total they were hit with more than £12,000 in fines and costs.
The court heard that city council housing officers inspected a property on Smithdown Road, Wavertree, last June. Officers discovered that the student occupants of the three-storey house regularly found rat droppings on their bedding. There was also evidence of damp and inadequate waste disposal facilities, which had led to a build-up of waste in the back yard, adding to the rat problems.
The house had a broken fire alarm, an electric meter cupboard that was not properly enclosed and internal doors that needed keys to open. All of these were deemed as hazards that broke fire safety rules.
At the sentencing hearing this week, District Judge Lloyd gave a damning indictment on the ineptitude of Venmore by failing to make sure the tenants were safe. Judge Shaw said the fire breaches posed a ‘serious risk to life’.
Judge Shaw added that Venmore was a professional management company and the vulnerable nature of the tenants and the sheer number of contraventions were both aggravating features.
BFL were fined £10,500, with £1,665.57 costs and a £180 victim surcharge.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Lynnie Hinnigan, said: It is appalling that tenants, particularly vulnerable students, are left to live in these conditions We want landlords and agents to work with us and provide safe accommodation but we will not tolerate flagrant breaches of basic housing legislation such as this.”
- Liverpool City Council introduced its Landlord Licensing Scheme in April 2015 to improve standards in the private rental sector.
- To date the council has granted licenses to approximately 45,000 properties.
- Tenants and members of the public can check if a property has the required Landlord Licence here
You can also report unlicensed properties to Unlicensed.Landlord@Liverpool.gov.uk