Friday 22nd February 2019
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04/02/2019 - Another rogue landlord made to pay for crimes

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Luton’s Rogue Landlord Project has seen another successful prosecution in its campaign to ensure tenants in the town are not ripped off and asked to live in squalid and dangerous accommodation.

The partnership between Luton Council, the Fire Service, the Police, the Home Office, Citizens Advice Luton and Luton Law Centre, aims to protect tenants and prevent them being conned by unscrupulous landlords.
 
Last month, at Luton Magistrates Court, Zenith Accommodation Ltd and its Director, Mohammad Mallick of Ivy Road, faced charges of managing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) at 36 Dorel Close, 79 Cromwell and 3 Cromwell Road, which were not licensed and breaching regulations which ensure properties are safe and suitable to be used as HMOs. The court heard that the actions of the company were due to the consent, connivance or neglect on the part of Mr Mallick.
 
As well as operating without a licence the properties suffered from a host of defects including lack of fire doors, lack of fire detection, lack of emergency lighting, penetrating damp and insufficient electrical sockets.
 
Despite denying the charges both the company and Mr Mallick, were found guilty on all offences. The company was fined a total of £66741 and Mallick was fined £14661  for the unlicensed HMOs, breaching regulations, victim surcharge and the council’s costs incurred in bringing the case to court.
 
The District Judge hearing the case stated that Mallick just said what he thought the court wanted to hear, and made denials in the face of overwhelming evidence and that no reliance could be put on anything he said. He said Mallick had shown no remorse and found the degree of culpability extraordinarily high. Mallick’s actions had been deliberate and cynical in order to maximise profit.
 
Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, said: “Being a landlord carries with it significant legal responsibilities and this successful action is yet another achievement of our Rogue Landlord Project. This case underlines the council’s ongoing commitment to ensure private tenants in our town have safe, high-quality accommodation.
 
“In situations like this, dishonest and immoral landlords are not only taking financial advantage of vulnerable tenants, but placing their lives in danger. We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants”.
 
The purpose of HMO licensing is to ensure that the properties meet certain standards in relation to disrepair, fire safety and that there are enough toilets and washing facilities for the number so people living there. Every landlord housing different families that share the same facilities under one roof must register for an HMO license.
 
It is easy to check on a specific property. There is a full list of registered HMOs on our HMOs page. Residents can report concerns by emailing [email protected] or calling 01582 547222 in complete confidence.
 
Anyone operating an HMO without the appropriate licence is committing an offence and risks both a criminal record and an unlimited fine on summary conviction.
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