Mitcham landlord fined for putting tenants at risk

Merton Council prosecuted a Mitcham landlord recently for a string of offences for properties he owned which were in multiple occupation.

Mr Vipinchandra Malkan, who managed a number of properties situated on London Road, Mitcham, was fined at Wimbledon Magistrates Court on Friday 16 December 2011.

Mr Malkan was fined £9,750 for thirty offences, which included failings under The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and non-compliance with Housing Act Improvement Notices and Prohibition Orders. In addition he was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £3,667.75 and a victim surcharge of £15.00.

On 27 January 2011, London Fire Brigade notified Merton Council’s environmental health department of a fire at one of the properties. On inspection, the property was found to be in multiple occupation. It was established that Mr Malkan was also using the adjacent property on London Road, Mitcham, as further accommodation for multiple occupants.

In both properties there were inadequate fire safety measures, which put the occupants at serious risk. The living accommodation was cramped and space within some of the rooms was insufficient for normal daily household activities. The shared washing and cooking facilities were dirty and defective.

Merton’s environmental health officers carried out a Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) assessment of the properties and served Improvement Notices, whereby remedial action had to be completed within a specified time to reduce the hazards identified. Prohibition Orders were also served to limit the numbers of occupants in each property to five, and to prohibit the use of the rooms that were found to be too small.

At Court, Mr Malkan provided no evidence of a ‘reasonable excuse’ for the breaches of the Houses in Multiple Occupation regulations or failing to comply with the notices and orders.

Councillor Andrew Judge, Merton Council cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration said:

” Merton’s environmental health officers seek to engage with landlords and provide guidance to ensure standards in the private rented sector are met.

“However, our officers will continue to take enforcement action where landlords fail to co-operate, in order to protect Merton’s residents and to provide satisfactory rental accommodation in the borough.”