Merton Council has successfully prosecuted a landlord for flouting the law that protects the health and safety of private tenants.
Mr Fouad Ahmad, from Streatham pleaded guilty to failing to register a house in multiple occupancy, known as an HMO, at Lavender Hill Magistrates Court in Battersea on Tuesday 6 August.
The 48-year-old was handed a fine of £1,965 for the breach of Section 72(1) of The Housing Act 2004 and was ordered to pick up Merton Council’s bill for costs which was £1,750 in addition to a surcharge of £196.
Following a tip off expressing concerns over a two-storey house in Beecholme Avenue in Mitcham an investigation was launched by Merton Council’s Housing Enforcement Officers.
The officers discovered that despite the fact more than five unrelated housemates were sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities at the terraced house, Mr Ahmed had not applied for an HMO licence. Mr Ahmed was prosecuted under updated terms of The Housing Act 2004 – which since last October have stipulated that all HMO’s in the borough with five or more people making up two or more households must be registered as an HMO. Previously the requirement for a HMO licence only applied to houses of three storeys or more.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Transport Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “As a council we are determined to tackle bad landlords and we hope this case sends out a strong message that the council will take tough action on any landlord operating in an illegal way in Merton. We will not hesitate to take robust enforcement action against those breaching their responsibilities under HMO legislation especially since the important change in legislation last October. We are also undertaking further work on introducing a landlord licensing scheme and a paper will be coming to cabinet in September.
“Whilst most landlords across Merton provide a good standard of accommodation for private renters and comply with legislation, there is a minority of rogue landlords who seek to profiteer by cramming people in sub-standard homes, provide inadequate facilities or who breach safety standards. We will proactively investigate suspected breaches of the law which protects tenants and will not hesitate to prosecute or issue penalties against offenders.”
“Not registering a HMO is a very serious offence, as if the property is not properly managed the safety of tenants is at risk. I would strongly encourage tenants or neighbours who suspect a landlord is not adhering to the rules to report it to the council.”
NOTES TO EDITOR
Mr Fouad Ahmad, Hoadley Road in Streatham