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Landlord ordered to pay nearly £5k for fire safety breaches

A buy-to-let landlord in Sutton has been fined £2,694 and ordered to pay £1,994 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170 after pleading guilty to fire safety breaches and a failure to apply for an HMO licence. 

The HMO flat, located above commercial premises on Upper Green East, CR4, was found to have a series of fire safety regulation breaches.

Officers from the council’s housing enforcement department investigated the property in March, and found that there were seven unrelated tenants living there, meaning it should have been licensed as an HMO.


Upon further inspection, the flat, owned by Ronak Patel, was found to have no fire alarms or fire protected exits, while shared areas were ‘badly maintained’, meaning both fire safety and HMO regulations were breached. 

Hannah Doody, Merton Council’s director of community and housing, 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.”

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    I wonder how much developers will be fined for building student residences with wooden frames and cardboard cladding? I bet £0 as they are apparently perfectly legal! I also bet they didn't tell the students or their parents about their building standards.

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    • 18 November 2019 09:40 AM

    No way would I ever buy a timber framed property UNLESS it was it was constructed about 300 years ago.
    Just consider the 3 Little Piggies story!
    Modern timber frame properties are essentially sacrificial buildings.
    I would not invest my money in such properties.
    If I rented I would not live above the 4th floor.
    That is the maximum distance the standard fire service ladder can reach on first attending fire appliances.
    Though the first floor is the ideal compromise.
    I had a choice of higher floors when I was purchasing flats.
    I chose 3 on the ground and 1 on the 1st.
    Properties should be built properly.
    That means brick and stone.
    It was mentioned anecdotally that after Steve McQueen did the Towering Inferno film he moved from the upper floor to the ground floor of his tower block!
    This modular rubbish being thrown up is because it is cheap to build.
    My terrace property built 119 years ago will still be around 200 years from now.
    Just like the Georgian houses are.
    Most of the timber frame rubbish will be just so much matchwood 200 years from now.

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    Congratulations to Merton Council for prosecuting. Landlords need to be more responsible.
    Surely not all timber framed houses are fire risks or are about to fall down? I agree that cheap builds are terrible for those who buy them. Are there any responsible builders (or is that a contradiction in terms - I do hope not) out there who want to build well? We had wonderful builders who really knew what they were doing but they had an average age of about 60! Please could responsible builders get together and ask Government to bring in regulations on this - suggest they also draft their own regulations. Surely modular houses aren't all rubbish? Look at German systems. Surely modular is the way to go because it is efficient but obviously they must be made and put up properly?

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    And again, a very not British sur name!


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