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.
Richard Gedall from the company MyLetz pleaded guilty to seven charges at three properties in the town which were not licensed under the Housing Act and a breach of Management Regulations relating to fire fighting equipment.
His defence stated that Gedall was 39 and of good character and that he suffered post-traumatic stress following an accident in 2004. He later became an estate agent at MyLetz where he managed these unlicensed illegal HMOs (houses with multiple occupancy).
The court took into account his situation but he was fined £1,360. 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 toilet and washing facilities for the number of people living there.
Cllr Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “This case underlines the Council’s ongoing commitment to ensure private tenants in our town have safe, high-quality accommodation. In situations like this, unscrupulous landlords are not only taking financial advantage of vulnerable tenants, but placing their lives in danger. Every landlord housing different families that share the same facilities under one roof must register for an HMO licence. We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants.
“The good news for tenants taken advantage of in situations like these is that they are entitled to claim up to 12 months rent back from the landlord – something the Council hopes will make landlords think twice and take seriously their legal obligations.”
“We encourage anyone who suspects a property that may be an unlicensed HMO to contact us immediately.”
It is easy to check on a property. There is a full list of registered HMOs on the Council’s website www.luton.gov.uk/hmo Residents can email HMO.Hotline@luton.gov.uk or call 01582 547222.