An unscrupulous landlord has been ordered to pay close to £30,000 after being found guilty of a number of breaches relating to five properties in Luton operated as houses in multiple occupation (HMO) without consent.
Mervyn Kupshik of Adelaide Close, Stanmore, who operated the unlicensed properties in Dallow Road, Edward St, Tennyson Road, Eldon Road and Baker Street (all in Luton), was found to be in breach of HMO regulations at each of those properties.
A number of defects were identified in the properties, including blocked fire exits; faulty wiring and electrical equipment; combustible material present in key escape routes; no devices for detection of fire, while the houses were in a general state of disrepair.
The landlord has been told pay the fine within three months or face a prison term of nine months.
Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, commented: “Once again through the hard work of council officers the lives of tenants in Luton have been made safer. The implications of this case will, I hope, cause any rogue landlord to sleep badly at night.
“Often unscrupulous individuals see the opportunity to make a fast buck without any regard for those they exploit. The law around houses in multiple occupation is there to protect the vulnerable and stop them from living in squalid unsafe conditions.
“This is the first time the council has brought a case against a private sector landlord using the powers of POCA. We hope it will be the last, but are not afraid to bring further prosecutions if necessary. Our message is clear: if you play fast and loose with your tenants, we will make you pay.”