Luton rogue landlord hit with £11k fine

The scales of justice
The scales of justice

A rogue landlord who ran an unlicenced HMO in Luton with overcrowded rooms and a string of safety dangers had been slapped with an £11,620 fine.

Tariq Elahi, 38, was landlord of 38 Williton Road in Luton, where a number of safety breaches were found including obstructions to doorways and fire exits, a broken lightbulb, lack of fire detectors, incomplete walls between bedrooms and the hallway, lack of fire doors, and overcrowding.

At Luton Magistrates Court this month, Elahi pleaded guilty to one offence of having an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) along with the seven additional management breaches and he was fined £11,620.

Elahi, of Leagrave Road, had previously received a caution in respect of a licensed HMO at another address.

A Luton Borough Council spokesman said: “Being a landlord carries with it significant legal responsibilities and the council is continuing its Rogue Landlord project which aims to protect tenants and prevent them being ripped off by unscrupulous individuals.

“Too many tenants are being offered squalid and dangerous accommodation, the owners of which are more interested in exploitation than responsible behaviour.”

Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, added: “We will not tolerate landlords who rent properties which fail to meet standards. The council has a commitment to ensure that private landlords in Luton do not take financial advantage of vulnerable tenants and put their lives at risk.

“We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants.”

There is a full list of registered HMOs on the council’s website www.luton.gov.uk/hmo. Residents can report concerns by emailing HMO.hotline@luton.gov.uk or calling 01582 547222 in complete confidence.

The council has introduced its HMO licensing scheme in phases in order to simply the inspection and investigation of any premises suspected of not having the appropriate licence. This phased approach ended on September 30, 2017.

Now anyone operating an HMO without the appropriate licence, regardless of size or number of occupants, is committing an offence and risks a criminal record and an unlimited fine on summary conviction.