Rogue managing agent from Leighton Buzzard fined £2k over unlicensed HMO

Leighton Buzzard news
Leighton Buzzard news

A letting agent from Leighton Buzzard has been convicted of managing an unlicensed HMO in a prosecution by Central Beds Council.

Leon Hill, 47, of Derwent Road, Leighton Buzzard, pleaded guilty to the offence at Luton Magistrates Court on June 18.

Hill, who is the director of Squares Estate Agents on High Street, failed to licence a house of multiple occupation (HMO) in Wellington Way in Leighton Buzzard, despite several requests by council officers.

Central Bedfordshire Council, with new powers from government, is tackling rogue landlords flouting the rules in the private rented sector. Hill received a fine of £866, council costs of £1,102 and a victim surcharge of £86 resulting in total fine of £2,054.

The Housing Act 2004 introduced licensing of HMOs to protect often vulnerable people from risks such as overcrowding and fire that can be greater than with other types of accommodation.

Cllr Carole Hegley, executive member for housing, said: “We know that most private rented sector landlords provide decent and well managed accommodation, but there are a small number of rogue landlords and property agents who knowingly flout their legal obligations and rent out accommodation which is substandard – often to vulnerable tenants. This is unacceptable.

“We want people to understand that landlords of HMOs who fail to apply for a licence will be committing an offence which may result in a prosecution, criminal conviction, their name being added to the national Rogue Landlord Database and a large fine.”

If you have a property which requires a House in Multiple Occupation Licence please contact Central Bedfordshire Council’s Private Sector Housing team on 0300 300 8767 or by email PSH@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.