A Luton lettings agency and its director, plus a landlord, have all been found guilty of offences related to a breach of a licence they had been granted by the local council.
Simon Harrison of Dunstable, who is a director of Homes4U Wolves Ltd, along with Alan Cotterill of Ellesmere Port, were all found guilty in Luton Magistrates Court of offences related to a breach of a licence.
The property at Stanley Street, Luton owned by Cotterill and managed by Harrison’s company, had been granted a licence for a house in multiple occupation.
However, on inspection council officers discovered that some of the conditions in the licence had been broken, including the number of tenants exceeded those permitted; the fire alarm was not maintained in working order; and failing to provide a gas certificate.
Both defendants were ordered to pay £250 costs. Cotterill was fined £1,825 in total and Homes4U £1,785.
In sentencing, the district judge described the breach as extremely serious and therefore had the potential to cause a significant threat to the safety of occupants. He stressed that any failings were the joint responsibility of both owner and manager of the property.
A council spokesman says: "This conviction sends out a really strong message to landlords. Even if they have the correct documentation it is not simply enough to hide behind a piece of paper. From the moment a licence is granted, there is an expectation that every condition in it will be rigorously met. Conditions are there for a reason and if they aren’t complied with, we will take action.”