Irresponsible landlords renting out sub-standard homes face a £20,000 fine if they do not adhere to new housing licensing rules.
Luton Borough Council introduced the new rules for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) which are homes or flats shared by unrelated people who share facilities such as bathrooms or toilets.
It is estimated that there are more than 2,000 HMOs in Luton and every one now requires a licence.
Landlords renting out properties which are damp, cold, dirty, insecure, too small, unsafe or don’t have the appropriate number of bathrooms are required to bring them up to a suitable standard before a licence is issued.
Pam Garraway, corporate director for housing and community living, said: “The licence allows us to stop irresponsible landlords taking advantage of tenants by renting out sub-standard homes. We have already seen an improvement in the standard of many HMOs which is why we will take action against any landlord not complying.
“Our officers are working hard to identify every property affected by these changes but we would still like landlords to come forward themselves and apply online.”
The cost of an HMO licence will vary depending on the size and number of bedrooms. A full breakdown of the fee structure is listed on the council’s website.
The scheme is being introduced in phases. The current phase requires one or two-storey properties occupied by at least five people, forming two or more households, to be licensed.
Landlords registered to Luton’s Landlord Accreditation scheme are eligible for a discount.
For information and to license a property visit www.luton.gov.uk and search ‘HMO’. Alternatively, call 01582 54 72 22.