A landlord has been fined a four figure sum for failing to produce documentation for a council.
Fathima Syeda Kauser of Luton pleaded guilty to the charge of not producing documents required under section 235 of the Housing Act 2004 with regard to an HMO which she managed.
A court heard that Kauser had been a letting agent trading as Switch Home.
Council inspectors found 15 breaches of the management regulations when they visited the property and the Fire Service placed a prohibition order on the property for reasons of safety.
Despite repeated requests for the documents consistent with managing the property, very few if any, were forthcoming.
The court fined Kauser £1,200. With added costs and a victim surcharge the total amount payable is £1,590. It was agreed that a payment of £250 would be made per month until the fine was paid in full.
The defendant was advised that she now had a criminal conviction which she may have to declare in certain circumstances.
Councillor Tom Shaw, Luton’s portfolio holder for housing, says: “A fine for not having the correct documents may seem trivial. It is not.
“When landlords are sloppy and reluctant or unable to produce the necessary paperwork, it is highly likely they are trying to hide illegal activity of some sort.
“Where illegal activity is present, whatever it is, tenants’ safety comes into question. As a council we are totally committed to stamping it out in our housing stock and will always prosecute any individual where they are disobeying the law designed to protect those in that market.”
In partnership with the Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue service, Bedfordshire Police, the Luton Law Centre and the Luton Citizens Advice Bureau the council operates a Rogue Landlord Project “to help ensure properties in Luton are maintained to a good standard.”