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Council prosecution sees landlord fined £27k for multiple HMO breaches

A landlord in Luton has been ordered to pay £27,000 at a sentencing hearing after previously pleading guilty to illegally managing a house in multiple occupation.

Marco Caruso of Verulam Court in London had also pleaded guilty to seven breaches of HMO regulation.

An investigation by Luton Borough Council found that as well as operating without a licence, the property had insufficient automatic fire detection; missing and broken roof tiles, a hole in the ceiling above the first floor landing and evidence of rodent infestation.

At the sentencing hearing last month (13 December) the District Judge said that Caruso had not taken his responsibilities as a landlord seriously enough, that he had deliberately turned a blind eye to the situation and that he had been uncooperative with the local authority.

He is also reported to have noted that Mr Caruso had shown little or no concern for his tenants or his premises. 

The defendant was ordered to pay £27,000, which included a £170 victim surcharge and costs of £848.70.

Cllr Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Luton Borough Council, said: “This is a great result for the Rogue Landlord Project and an excellent example of how we are working together to ensure that private housing in Luton is of a good standard. If an HMO is poorly managed, the tenant’s safety could be at risk.

“We are committed to identifying rogue landlords and making sure the properties they manage are in a good condition and adhere to safety regulations, or face prosecution. I would strongly encourage tenants or neighbours who suspect a landlord is not adhering to the rules to get in touch with us.”

The Rogue Landlord Project is a partnership between Luton Council, the Fire Service, the Police, the Home Office, Citizens Advice Luton and Luton Law Centre that aims to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords.

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