Landlords and letting agents have been handed suspended jail sentences and almost £250,000 in fines and costs for failing to manage rented properties in recent weeks.
In Luton, Bedfordshire, a landlord and letting agents were fined over £26,000 for a string of housing offences after raids at two shared homes.
Landlord Adrian Simion, 30, owned both houses in multiple occupation, while Altavon Property Management acted as agents, the town’s magistrates were told.
The charges included failing to licence a shared house and several HMO management offences relating to the health and safety of tenants.
Neither defendant attended the hearing, but both were found guilty.
In a separate case, property investor Alan Fowler was fined almost £8,500 for badly managing a house in multiple occupation in Woking, Surrey.
Fowler was found guilty in his absence at a hearing at Woking Magistrates Court.
The court was told the home was in a poor state of repair, with a catalogue of faults including mould in several rooms, a leaking toilet, and faulty hot water system.
Woking Council had served two improvement notices on Fowler which had been ignored.
“We gave Mr Fowler ample opportunity to rectify the multiple issues with his property, all of which were ignored. We were therefore in no doubt that prosecution was the only suitable approach,” said Councillor Colin Kemp, portfolio holder for housing services
“The proactive court enforcement action will act as a deterrent to others considering neglect of their property and of their duty to provide a secure and habitable place of residence for their tenants.”
In another case, specialist agency Nottingham Student Lettings Ltd and sole director Robert Singh, 52, admitted five fire safety offences relating to halls of residence at Castle Gate, Nottingham.
The company was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 costs, while Singh was handed a three-month jail sentence and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.
Sentencing, Judge Stuart Rafferty QC said:
“It could not be said within any degree of realism to have been a safe building,
“It was far from it. The risk of death was not theoretical, it could well have occurred.”