A PROPERTY company has been fined after breaching housing regulations and leaving residents in unsafe conditions.

Camelot Guardian Management, also known as Camelot Europe, was found guilty of 15 offences including failure to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), and 14 breaches of HMO management regulations in relation to the Old Rectory in Spring Lane, Colchester.

The firm was supposed to take on the former care home and enable people to live in it for reduced rents.

The breaches related to fire and electrical safety and living conditions within the property including a faulty fire alarm system, blocked fire escapes and sealed doors.

The residents shared one kitchen, several bathrooms with no hot water and a blocked toilet.

The tenants contacted the council’s private sector housing team, in January 2018, after their attempts to contact Camelot Europe about the issues were ignored.

Since the company admitted and was found guilty of these 15 offences, they have gone into administration.

They are now trading under a new name, Watchtower Security Solutions, trading as Watchtower Property Management, with the same company director.

At Chelmsford Magistrates' Court, District Judge Justin 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.

Adam Fox, Colchester Council's housing boss, 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.

“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.

“Colchester Council is committed to improving standards of private sector housing accommodation across the borough.

"When accommodation is not being responsibly managed and regulations are breached, we will work with those involved to resolve the issues – but, if this proves to be unsuccessful, we will take legal action to remedy the situation and ensure tenants can enjoy a safe and healthy home which meets regulations.”