A landlord and letting agency have been fined more than £26,000 after being found guilty of housing offences at two properties in Luton last year.
Altavon Property Management Ltd and Adrian Simion were found guilty at Luton Magistrates court of a series of management regulations breaches relating to the safety and running of illegal houses of multiple occupancy.
Neither Simion nor the lettings agency attended the hearing but were convicted in their absence.
The magistrates imposed fines totalling nearly £7,000 on Simion for two offences of failing to licence a HMO and nine separate management regulation breaches. He was ordered to pay £500 costs and £110 victim surcharge.
For its part, Altavon Property Management was fined £10,000 for failure to licence and then £2,500 for each of four management breaches, £500 costs and £120 victim surcharge.
The people found at the properties were subsequently supported by Luton Council which brought the prosecutions, together with the Romanian Embassy, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Citizens Advice Luton and various charities.
“We hope that this prosecution sends a very strong message that we will act on information we receive especially if we suspect that people are being exploited” says a council spokesman.
Superintendent David Cestaro, Bedfordshire Police lead for Modern Slavery, says: “While no offences under the Modern Slavery Act were identified from this particular operation, we have managed to safeguard people who were taken advantage of by being provided substandard living arrangements.”