A landlord in Luton has been handed the largest fine the town has ever seen for breaches of the law regarding houses in multiple occupation, including a total disregard for the safety of his tenants.
At a Magistrate’s Court hearing, 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 string of dangerous breaches of legislation designed to protect tenants.
The court was told that the property was overcrowded and tenants’ lives had been put at risk through a lack of fire doors, automatic fire detection and heat detection, obstructions to stairs and exits in the event of fire.
It also materialised that there were unfinished electrical works throughout the property which left bare wires hanging from ceilings and out of walls. Bathrooms were in a terrible state of disrepair, ceilings were damaged and the gas meter had to be shut down due to a leak and the electrical meter had been tampered with.
In sentencing, the chair of the Magistrates Court said: “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.”
Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, said: “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.”