A landlord has been penalised for operating an unlicensed house in multiple occupancy (HMO) in south London.
Fouad Ahmad, from Streatham, pleaded guilty at Lavender Hill Magistrates Court in Battersea yesterday for failing to register a HMO on Beecholme Avenue in Mitcham.
The 48-year-old was fined of £1,965 for the breach of Section 72(1) of The Housing Act 2004 and ordered to pay Merton Council’s bill for costs which was £1,750 in addition to a surcharge of £196.
Merton Council’s Housing Enforcement Officers found more than five unrelated housemates living in the terraced house, despite the fact that Ahmed had not applied for an HMO licence.
Cllr Martin Whelton, cabinet member for regeneration, housing and transport, commented: “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.”