Rogue landlord fined over £7k after council uncovers llegal HMO in Luton town centre

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A rogue landlord has been fined over £7,000 after Luton Borough Council uncovered an illegal house of multiple occupation (HMO) in the town centre

On Wednesday, March 20, Prestige Luton Ltd, of Britannia House, Leagrave Road, pleaded guilty at Luton Magistrates Court to charges of managing an HMO at 135 Wellington Street and breaching regulations which ensure properties are safe and suitable to be used as HMOs.

As well as operating without a licence, the property lacked adequate fire precautions.

There were ill-fitting fire doors, missing smoke strips and seals around the doors and frames, no thumb-turn mechanism to the rear exit door and the landlord’s details were not displayed in the property.

The company was fined a total of £3,400 with a victim surcharge of £120, and Luton Council was awarded costs of £4,220, altogether totalling £7,740.

Nicola Monk, LBC’s corporate director for infrastructure, said: “This is a great result for the 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 they improve the properties they manage, 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.”

The purpose of HMO regulation is to ensure that the properties meet safety standards 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.

There is a full list of licensed HMOs on the council’s HMO page at www.luton.gov.uk/hmo.

Residents can report concerns by emailing HMO.hotline@luton.gov.uk or calling 01582 547222 in complete confidence.