The Luton Rogue Landlord Project (RLP) has successfully prosecuted a landlord for multiple breaches of the House in Multiple Occupation Management Regulations.
The RLP is an initiative by Luton Borough Council, in partnership with the Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue service, Bedfordshire Police, Luton Law Centre and Luton Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
The project aims to tackle rogue landlords who are poorly managing their properties. In particular the project is focused on:
- Houses in Multiple Occupation
- ‘Beds in Sheds’ – substandard premises being used as living accommodation
- Empty homes- the council is keen to bring these properties back into use and provide much-needed accommodation.
At Luton Magistrates Court a company and its director faced charges of managing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) without a license and breaching regulations designed to ensure properties are safe and suitable for tenants. In additional to not having the appropriate licenses the properties also had a number of defects including penetrating damp, insufficient electrical sockets and a lack of fire doors, fire detection and emergency lighting.
The company and director denied the charges but were found guilty of all offences. The company was fined £66,741 and the director a further £14,661 for the unlicensed HMOs, regulation breaches, victim surcharges and the council’s costs.
HMO breaches are being taken increasingly seriously by councils up and down the country. Landlords failing to obtain a license where one is required can face criminal charges which could lead to not only hefty fines but also custodial sentences for the most serious offences.