Luton landlord fined £27k over rat-infested HMO with multiple fire and safety breaches
A landlord has been fined £27,000 over an unlicensed HMO in Luton with a series of fire and safety breaches.
Marco Caruso of Verulam Court, Hendon, appeared at Luton Magistrates Court last week for sentencing after pleading to illegally managing a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and seven breaches of HMO regulation.
The court heard the property at 14 Kenneth Road, Luton, was unlicensed, had poor fire alarm systems and blocked fire exits, missing and broken roof tiles, a hole in the ceiling above the first floor landing and evidence of rodent infestation.
Caruso was told he had not taken his responsibilities as a landlord seriously enough and had been uncooperative with the council, showing little regard for his tenants.
He was fined £27,000, which included a £170 victim surcharge and costs of £848.70.
Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, said: “This is a great result for the [council's] rogue landlord project and an excellent example of how we are working together to ensure that private housing in Luton is of a good standard.
"If an HMO is poorly managed, the tenant’s safety could be at risk.
“We are committed to identifying rogue landlords and making sure the properties they manage are in a good condition and adhere to safety regulations, or face prosecution.
"I would strongly encourage tenants or neighbours who suspect a landlord is not adhering to the rules to get in touch with us.
“Residents can report concerns by emailing [email protected] or calling 01582 547222 in complete confidence.”
HMO regulation is in place to ensure that the properties meet standards in relation to disrepair and fire safety, and that there are enough toilets and washing facilities for the number of people living there.
Every landlord housing different individuals or families that share the same facilities under one roof must comply with these standards.
Failure to do so can lead to a criminal conviction and/or financial penalties.
Visit the council's website for the full list of licensed HMOs in Luton.