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Luton Borough Council

04/11/2021 - Dodgy landlord handed hefty fine

Over £80,000 pounds of fines have been imposed on a letting agency and its director.

Mr Mohammad Mallick of Ivy Road, Luton, has been found guilty by Luton Magistrates Court of serious breaches of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) legislation between 2015 and 2017. Mallick, who was charged along with his company, Zenith Accommodation Ltd, managed three properties without the necessary HMO licences and did not comply with important safety regulations.

The District Judge, Leigh-Smith delivered a damning verdict on Mallick and the company’s activities. He found that tenants were exposed to potential harm due to the absence of the correct fire doors, fire detection equipment and other standards designed to protect them.
 
Passing sentence, the judge acknowledged the penalties were tough, but he said they were designed to significantly hurt the defendant.

Zenith Accommodation Ltd was fined a total of £66,741 which included £20,000 for each separate offence under the legislation plus additional surcharge and court costs.

Mallick was fined a total of £14,661 which also included costs.

He subsequently appealed against the sentence, but when the Crown Court heard the case in October 2021, it was dismissed and the conviction stood.
He has also been found guilty of perverting the course of justice at St Albans Crown Court. Mallick had claimed that he was out of the country and unable to attend a trial when in reality he was seen at his office.

His initial hearing was at Magistrates court in April 2019. In Feb 2020 the case was referred to the Crown Court which ruled against the council. 

The council appealed against this ruling and on 3rd March 2020 the High Court found in our favour overturning the Crown Court ruling and the case was referred to St Albans Crown Court for trial.

Here, the jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict and Mallick was sentenced to a community order for 18 months and ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work. In addition he was ordered to pay £4,000 costs. 

In a similar case, Mr Mohamed Hazmar Fauz, of The Avenue, Welwyn,was convicted of offences relating to breach of HMO licence and the HMO Management Regulations and was ordered to pay fines, costs and victim charge amounting to £23, 215.51 

Councillor Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, said: “I am delighted at the severity of these  sentences. Too many landlords see their property as cash cows and care little for the welfare and safety of those who live in them.

“Every tenant in Luton has the right to be treated as a human being and not as an object to take advantage of by unscrupulous individuals. As a council we are 100 per cent committed to stamping out illegal activity in our housing market and will always prosecute any individual where they are disobeying the law designed to protect those in that market.

“This verdict sends out the strongest possible message to landlords. ‘Don’t even think about it. If we catch you, there will be serious consequences.’”

In partnership with the Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue service, Bedfordshire Police, the Luton Law Centre and the Luton Citizens Advice Bureau the council operates the Rogue Landlord Project an initiative to help ensure properties in Luton are maintained to a good standard.

If you suspect a property is an illegal HMO, “'bed in a shed' or an empty home, you can contact us on:
© 2022 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ