Foxtons the iconic London agents has been fined £35,000 for safety issues involving a house it was letting. Foxtons had failed in its duty to prove to the local council information that the house it was letting was safe for the tenants in occupation.
Tower Hamlets Council, in east London, had asked Foxtons to provide safety documents for the property, but Foxtons had failed to do so despite warnings over an 18-month period.
A statement issued by Tower Hamlets Council, at Bow magistrates court, claimed that Foxtons had ignored requests to provide certificates showing that the gas, electrical and fire alarm installations had been checked.
Foxtons had also failed to supply details of the landlord and details of the tenants to the council on request.
Bow magistrates heard that although the house was believed to be in good condition, without serious safety issues, Foxtons’ failure to comply with the council’s requests “demonstrated a lack of regard for its duty to comply with legal requirements.”
Deputy mayor of Tower Hamlets, Councillor Sirajul Islam, said:
“This case has sent a very strong message out to landlords and agents.”
In passing sentence it was said by the court that the fines took into account of the size of the company, its profits and the ease with which it could have provided the information to the council.
The offence committed by Foxtons comes under Section 236(1) of the Housing Act 2004: failing to comply with a notice served under Section 235 of the Housing Act 2004. The notice requires a “person with a relevant interest in a property” to provide documents to a council for any purpose connected with its housing enforcement functions.
Foxtons pleaded guilty and in addition to the fine it was ordered to pay £3,603 in costs.
In mitigation Foxtons relied in court that it prided itself on its reputation as one of the county’s largest agents. It said it was “ashamed and remorseful” of the failings that led to the offence.