Record Fine for Luton landlord

Safety breaches in his buy to let HMO property have led to a record fine for a Luton landlord.

Alyas Hussain of Dunstable Close, Luton, was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay additional costs of £1,148.79 plus a surcharge of £170 for a number of dangerous breaches of legislation designed to protect tenants.

The huge amount sets a new record fine for the council, and was imposed as the landlord was seen to have a total disregard for the safety of his tenants.

The HMO in question was found to be ‘overcrowded’, while tenants’ lives had been ‘put at risk’ through a lack of fire doors, automatic fire detection and heat detection, in addition to ‘obstructions to stairs and exits in the event of fire’.

The property also had unfinished electrical works throughout, with bare wires ‘hanging from ceilings and out of walls’, with bathrooms also said to be in a ‘terrible state of repair’.

Ceilings were found to be damaged in the property and an electrical meter had been tampered with, while the gas meter ‘had to be shut down due to a leak’.

The chair of Luton magistrates court said when sentencing: ‘It is clear to us that these offences are motivated by profit without any recourse to regulations or court processes. The defendant has two properties not subject to mortgage and received rent from the HMO in excess of £19,000.’

Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, added: ‘We will not tolerate landlords who rent properties which fail to meet standards. The council has a commitment to ensure that private landlords in Luton do not take financial advantage of vulnerable tenants and put their lives at risk. We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants.

‘At the start of 2018 this conviction sends out a really strong message to landlords: in every sense of the expression ‘Get your house in order’ or we will be on to you.’

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