A LANDLORD convicted of nine counts of breaching regulations for a house in multiple occupation he owned must pay £20,240 in monthly instalments.

Cyril Thomas, director of Platinum Crown Investment Ltd, had denied the charges brought against him relating to 134a Hythe Hill.

A tenant's complaint to Colchester Council about poor heating in the four-bedroom property as well as mould sparked an investigation in December 2015.

Thomas was fined £1,000 for each offence plus a £100 victim surcharge and the rest in prosecution costs yesterday at Colchester Magistrates' Court.

Marcus Croskell, mitigating, helped sum up the magistrates' findings for a new bench, who sentenced Thomas via video link from Basildon Magistrates' Court.

He said: "Charge one relates to an obstruction of fire escape routes which were bicycles left by the tenants in the corridors and outside in a very small passageway.

"The magistrates in their verdict accepted tenants were written to by the property manager asking for all tenants to remove items from communal routes.

"The deadline given was November 29 and environmental officer Torben Wood attended the property for inspection on December 3."

Due to "systematic problems" with gas central heating, Thomas supplied portable heaters to tenants while he considered bringing in wall fitted electrical heating.

The 2kw heaters were later replaced with 1.5kw wall-mounted heaters, approved by Mr Wood.

However, magistrates said the initial course of action was "unsuitable".



Platinum Crown's office at 134 Hythe Hill, Colchester

Another offence related to two fire doors not been gaped, which Mr Wood claimed in his evidence would let smoke in.

But Mr Croskell explained intumescent strips in use would prevent fire "escaping from one door into the next".

Tenants had also been left without electricity over a weekend when the electrical fuse box tripped.

A handyman, down as the emergency contact, was unable to gain access to the box having locked its access point from the inside, which was in the commercial area of the building where Platinum Crown operates.

Mr Croskell said: "The back-up was Mr Thomas, who had the keys to the office but was away for the weekend.

"He found out about the problem on Sunday evening and cut short his weekend. He got back to Colchester at 6am on Monday to restore the electricity.

"This was deemed to be a failure and those systems which were in place clearly failed."

Other offences related to lightbulbs been missing from the flat at the time of inspection, ventilation in an ensuite shower room giving the potential for mould, failure to ensure fixtures and fittings were in good repair, not replacing a kitchen bin and also inadequate waste storage facilities outside.

In 2015, the flat earned Thomas, who owns 20 properties in the Colchester area, £1,750 per calendar month.

He now plans to appeal the nine convictions against him at crown court.