Thirty people lived in former care home with no hot water and blocked toilet
PUBLISHED: 15:24 12 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:24 12 January 2020
A company that allowed 30 people to live in a former care home with no hot water and blocked toilet has been fined more than £10,000 for housing regulation breaches.
Property guardian company, Camelot Guardian Management Company Ltd, also known as Camelot Europe, took over The Old Rectory, in Spring Lane, Colchester, after the care home on the site was closed down following an 'inadequate' rating CQC inspection.
The company acted as a property guardian, making licensing agreements with those living in the building rather than tenancy agreements. Residents pay a reduced rent but can be evicted with 28 days notice.
The residents shared one kitchen, several bathrooms with no hot water and a blocked toilet.
After Camelot Europe allegedly ignored repeated reports of multiple heath hazards, blocked fire escapes and electrical safety issues the residents contacted the council's private sector housing team in January 2018.
Camelot Europe was found guilty of a total of 15 offences at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on March 28, 2019.
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This included failure to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), and 14 breaches of HMO management regulation.
Adam Fox, council portfolio holder for housing, said: "Property guardian companies have a duty to licence HMOs and follow the regulations to protect residents.
"Camelot Europe's failure to do so in relation to the Old Rectory in Lexden left 30 tenants living in unsafe living conditions, which put them at risk in their homes."
The company has since gone into administration.
They are now trading under a new name, Watchtower Security Solutions, trading as Watchtower Property Management, with the same company director.
On January 10, District Judge Barron had no alternative, due to the company being in administration, but to issue a nominal fine of £100 for each of the 15 offences and ordered the company to pay the council's full costs of just under £10,000.
Mr Fox added: "It is unfortunate that the company went into administration during the legal process leaving minimal assets, such that the Judge had no option but to issue nominal fines for what were serious offences."
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