Another landlord has been successfully prosecuted by Merton Council – the third in the last four months for breaches of the Housing Act 2004.
Ronak Patel has been ordered to pay nearly £5k at Lavender Hill Magistrates, for operating a flat illegally in multiple occupancy (HMO) and for flouting the health and safety laws designed to protect the lives of tenants.
Mr Patel, from Upper Green East in Micham pleaded guilty to failing to apply for a licence to run a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) at the court on Tuesday 5 November. He also pleaded guilty to breaches in rules for fire safety and the maintenance of the shared areas of the property.
The 41-year-old faced the charges in relation to a first floor flat above a commercial premises in Upper Green East, Mitcham.
An investigation by Merton Council’s Housing Enforcement Officers, in March this year, found there was seven unrelated tenants at the flat. Under the law properties with more than five unrelated tenants, sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities, must be licensed as HMO.
The officers also discovered the flat had no fire alarms or fire protected exits in breach of fire safety regulations. The inspection also found that the shared areas in the flat, including the kitchen, bathroom and balcony, were badly maintained and failed to comply with regulations for HMOs.
Director of Community and Housing, Hannah Doody, said: “This is another great result and I hope our success in securing prosecutions, leading to hefty fines will serve as warning to any rogue landlords who breach the regulations for HMOs in Merton.
“We take extremely seriously the failure of landlords to licence a HMO, and will not hesitate to take stringent action, as the licensing regulations are there to protect the lives of residents.
“We will not tolerate rogue landlords who seek to profiteer from cramming as many tenants as possible into properties with inadequate or dangerous conditions.
“We are on a mission to drive up standards for private accommodation across Merton and so we will be continuing to crack down heavily on landlords who flout the laws.
“We have many good landlords in Merton who are providing decent living conditions for renters. But we are urging anyone who suspects a landlord of not adhering to the rules to report this to us and will investigate.”
Mr Patel was ordered to pay a fine of £2694.00, plus £1994 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170.00.
Notes for editors:
This is the third prosecution of a rogue landlord by Merton Council for breaches of the Housing Act 2004, in the last three months.
A retired GP, who failed to obtain an HMO licence for a house in Colliers Wood, despite having up to nine tenants, was ordered to pay £4,613 at Lavender Hill Magistrates Court on Friday 25 October.
A landlord, who had failed to obtain an HMO licence for a house in Mitcham was ordered to pay nearly £4,000 at the same court on Tuesday 6 August.
Since last October, under the updated rules of the Housing Act 2004, homes with more than five unrelated tenants sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities must be registered. Previously the requirement for an HMO licence only applied to houses of three storeys or more.
The failure to register an HMO is a serious offence which can result in an unlimited fine