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BTL landlord ordered to pay more than £3,700 for unlicensed HMO

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.”


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Poll: Do you own an HMO?


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    Our laws don't apply to them.

  • John Cart

    "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".
    We've heard from other Councils what an absolute money spinner these Licensing SCAMS are and can't wait to jump on the band wagon, of course when the scam is proven to be a total farce like the ones in Croydon and Newham we'll just trot out the usual bull**** and hope to get the scam extended for another five years, so lots more lovely lolly.

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    • 08 August 2019 16:33 PM

    Lots of LL will be doing this.
    Perhaps they may not be aware of the new HMO REGULATIONS which capture all those properties which weren't subject to the regulations.
    Unfortunately for many LL they will need to reduce to 4 occupiers unless they wish to be HMO compliant with things like room sizes.
    The market for anything over 4 bedrooms will be very subdued as unless all rooms are HMO compliant it is pointless investing in anything over 4 bedrooms.
    This will depress 5 bed values as few LL will want them.
    There is also the issue of Additional Licensing.
    This is something I am unsure about about but if required because there are 3 unrelated occupiers do the rooms have to meet minimum HMO requirements!?
    So if I correctly assess things that means in an Additional Licensing area a 3 bed property with 1 room not meeting HMO standards could not be used and the LL would need to reduce the unrelated occupiers to 2 or I suppose if the LL was any good at matchmaking he could persuade 2 of the unrelated occupiers to become an item thereby becoming 2 unrelated occupiers with the new couple now an item being a household.
    This must mean that 3 bed properties where any of the rooms are not HMO compliant won't be of any interest to LL.
    The trick I guess is NOT to invest in areas which are or might be subject to Additional Licensing.
    Not any easy trick to pull off!!

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    So you can’t let to individuals that’s excluded persons who don’t want to be in a relationship. So they have to be in a relationships or you can’t house them, so 2 couples as partners is fine / 4 persons = 2 households but 3 individuals not allowed without a license even though a person less would be in occupation at the property ?


    Totally agree. In Glasgow I had to spend £4k on fire doors, alarms etc. so I could rent a. 4 bed flat to 4 people, and pay £1900 for a licence and £900 every 3 years thereafter. Crazy!

    • 08 August 2019 19:04 PM

    Makes you wonder whether 3 unrelated occupiers desperate to rent a property will advise the LL after promoting that 2 of them are in a relationship but sometimes they don't sleep together so need a separate bedroom.
    Will the Council be coming round to check whether bedsheets are warm!?

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    unlicensed hmo in closed pub in mitcham--no action taken--why not? perhaps the council leader will explain?

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    what happened in richmond surrey where a judge stated the hmo fees must be reasonable? never heard any more!

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    The Council did come around to see the Flat & it has 3 compliant bedrooms. I was still required to get a license to let to three individual persons who came together as friends.

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    • 08 August 2019 20:35 PM

    So if I understand things correctly the Mandatory HMO regulations will now apply to properties in Additional Licensing areas for where there are 3 unrelated occupiers.
    My previous understanding was that if there were 3 unrelated occupiers then the Mandatory HMO regulations for more than 4 occupiers would NOT apply
    to property in an Additional Licensing area if fewer than 4 occupiers.
    This is clearly a ridiculous situation as this seems to be incorrect.
    So if I understand now and that is that any property in an Additional Licensing area with more than two occupiers will be subject to exactly the same Mandatory HMO Licensing conditions as those properties outside ALA with 4 or more occupiers.
    This is just crazy.
    Why bother investing in 3 bed properties when AL might be introduced!?
    It makes investing in 3 bed properties pointless.
    Rarely will a LL be able to construct a household prepared to pay per room but being a couple and a single person.
    Of course unless LL are prepared to leave a room vacant then the viability of 3 bed properties in AL areas become questionable.

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    0k when you say 3 individuals in the same breath you have to say 3 households that's it but you may be able to have a 4th person as well as a partner to one of the others subject to room size, if its just 3 you have to have the additional licence anyhow in an area where this applies. There is nothing new about this I had it in 2012 at least and had to renew again in 2017.
    The ground Floor Flat 2 double bedrooms in same House additional license didn't apply but that came under Selective Licensing & allowed 2 house holds not more than 4 persons and strangely enough from memory cost £650 for the Application where as the Additional License fee was £1'150 for 3 persons but possibly 4 if one took in a partner subject to every one agreeing to amend the Tenancy Agreement.


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