Merton Council cracks down on rogue landlord

Merton Council has successfully prosecuted a Mitcham landlord for renting out an unauthorised and unsafe House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

At a hearing in Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court on 4 May, Daniella Mbachu, who owns property in Hill Road in Mitcham, was found guilty of failing to apply for an HMO licence, and failure to supply a fire alarm, fire blanket, CO2 extinguisher, and fire escape. As a result, she has been ordered to pay £13,800 in fines, a £190 victim surcharge, and prosecution costs of £2,530 – meaning that the cost of her crime will total £16,520.

All HMO’s in the borough with five or more people making up two or more households must be licensed with the council. This is primarily so the local authority can ensure that health and safety standards are met in high risk HMO.

Councillor Martin Whelton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and the Climate Emergency, said: ”Regardless of whether you own property or rent, everyone should be entitled to safe and secure housing. Merton will not hesitate to go after landlords who break the rules and cut corners which puts their tenant’s safety at risk. Letting out a property cannot be seen as just a quick way of generating profit, landlords have a responsibility to their tenants, and we will hold them to account if they let them down.

“We know that the private-rented sector is a vital part of our housing supply, but poor standards will not be tolerated, and those who break the rules and put tenants at risk will face the consequences.

“Applying for an HMO licence might seem daunting, but if your property is up to scratch it’s a quick and easy process, and it’ll end up saving you a lot more than if you’re caught without one.”