Wisbech chiropractor and wife stung with £27,000 fine for offfences connected to running unlicenced HMO in Boston, Lincs
- Credit: Archant
A Wisbech chiropractor and his wife were hit with a £27,000 fine after being found guilty of 26 charges in relation to running an unlicensed HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) in Boston.
The fine, coupled with being under insured after their Wisbech home was damaged by fire, could bankrupt them, the court was told.
Dr Kola Akindele and his wife Vanessa were also ordered to pay costs of £12,702.80 and £120 victim surcharge. Dr Akindele, of North Brink, chose not to give any evidence.
Mr William Powell, defending, told Boston magistrates: “It’s become a mess for a whole variety of reasons. Too many factors have gone wrong.”
He said there was no serious defence to be advanced. He said damp in the property was a product of “the storm” and could only be attended to when there was better weather.
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There had also been a delay caused by an enforcement notice served by the council which the Akindeles had appealed against. He said cooperation ran into difficulties “otherwise a great deal of this might have been avoided”.
He said the Akindeles grade two star-listed property in Wisbech had been damaged by fire and they were under insured and they were likely to be insolvent in the future. He said they were saddled with significant debt.
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Presiding magistrate Mr Kevin Moody told Mrs Akindele: “We do not accept your version of how the property came to be in this condition.
“The seriousness comes from not what did happen but what could have happened. People could have been seriously injured or even died.”
Akindele’s wife told the court they divided their time between the Boston property and their Wisbech house where Dr Akindele practised as a chiropractor. She was the office manager and nurse.
Mr Daniel Brayley, prosecuting, said management regulations had not been complied with and there were safety issues contributing to a dangerous household.
Mr Andrew Elcock, a housing enforcement officer from Boston Borough Council, talked the court through a large collection of photographs he had taken at the property. All showed the extent of the deficiencies in the house.
Mrs Akindele agreed the property had not been licensed as an HMO, saying she did not know it had to be. She said there were five tenants – one living in an attic room – and they shared facilities.
She also agreed there were no fire doors with automatic closures and heatproof expanding fire strips that combustible items stored in one room included mattresses. She said she had not seen some of the other hazards and had never seen anything plugged into the double socket in the shared bathroom.