Rogue landlord and agency fined over overcrowded Luton HMO with no fire alarm or gas certificate

27 Stanley Street in centre        [Google Maps]
27 Stanley Street in centre [Google Maps]

The landlord and agents of an overcrowded house of multiple occupation (HMO) in Luton have been fined for breaking licence condition.

Landlord Alan Cotterill of Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, and company director Simon Harrison of Waterlow Road, Dunstable, were both found guilty alongside Harrison’s agency, Homes4U Wolves Ltd, of offences related to a breach of a licence granted by the council.

The property at 27 Stanley Street, owned by Cotterill and managed by Harrison’s company, had been granted a licence for a house in multiple occupation (HMO). On inspection, officers found some of the licence conditions had been broken, including:

• the number of tenants exceeded those permitted

• the fire alarm was not maintained in working order

• failing to provide a gas certificate

Both defendants were ordered to pay £250 costs. Cotterill was fined £1,825 in total and Homes4U £1,785.

In sentencing, the District Judge stated that the failures were extremely serious and were potentially a significant threat to the occupants’ safety.

Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, said: “This conviction sends out a really strong message to landlords. Even if they have the correct documentation it is not simply enough to hide behind a piece of paper.

“From the moment a licence is granted, there is an expectation that every condition in it will be rigorously met. Conditions are there for a reason and if they aren’t complied with, we will take action.”

A Luton Borough Council spokesman added: “Being a landlord carries with it significant legal responsibilities and this successful action is yet another achievement of our Rogue Landlord Project, a partnership between Luton Council, the Fire Service, the Police, the Home Office, Citizens Advice Luton and Luton law Centre, which aims to protect tenants and prevent them being ripped off by unscrupulous individuals.”

If you suspect someone does not have the necessary documentation. It is easy to check on a specific property.

You can see a full list of registered HMOs here .

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