A landlord from Luton has been handed fines totalling nearly £19,000 for owning four unlicensed homes and neglecting fire safety rules.
Owner Mr Tamas Katona admitted the offences at court after a joint prosecution from the local council and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Inspectors found that the four properties failed to meet certain standards in relation to disrepair and that they had inadequate protection for residents in the event of the outbreak of a fire.
Councillor Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing at Luton Borough Council, said: “This case underlines the Council’s ongoing commitment to ensuring 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.
“We would encourage anyone who suspects a property may be an unlicensed HMO to contact us immediately.
“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.”