A PROPERTY company has been fined £5,000 after failing to look after a block of flats in Colchester.

A Professional Standards Tribunal has upheld Colchester Council’s decision to fine property management company Titlecroft Limited.

Titlecroft Limited, a London-based company, had appealed the council’s decision to fine it following a series of investigations into poor management of Pico Wharf, a block of flats in Whitehall Road, Colchester, which was converted from offices in 2016.

Residents living there had concerns regarding some of the building works, including unreliable electricity and water supplies, door security systems not working, rubbish and vandalism on the site and sewage overflowing into a ground floor hallway.

Residents contacted the council after their attempts to contact the company about these issues failed.

The council helped to resolve the issues, but remained concerned about the management of the site and that the company had not joined a Government-approved property redress scheme, which is a legal requirement.

Despite the council’s repeated warnings to Titlecroft Limited, the company failed to register with a property redress scheme.

As a result, in April, the council issued a fixed penalty notice to impose the maximum fine of £5,000 for this offence.

The company did then join a redress scheme, but the council pursued the fine as the company had not been registered during the first 18 months it had managed Pico Wharf.

The company appealed this notice and Judge Peter Hinchcliffe, of the Professional Regulation Tribunal, reviewed all the evidence and dismissed Titlecroft Limited’s appeal.

Tina Bourne (Lab), councillor responsible for housing and communities, said: “With increasing numbers of Colchester residents living in private rented accommodation it is essential these homes are safe and residents can exercise their right to complain if their homes are not well-managed.

“One of the aims of the council’s strategic plan is to increase the supply of good quality homes by using legal powers to improve standards in the private rented sector and this action is a great example of the work the council is doing.”