Campaigns Regulation and Enforcement

Merton Council fine criminal landlord £5000 for health and safety breaches

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

A landlord in London has been ordered to pay nearly £5000 for failing to apply for a HMO licence and breaching health and safety laws.

The landlord, 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.

It is the third prosecution of a criminal 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.

Effective enforcement-one of the RLA’s six key manifesto asks

Ahead of the General Election which is set to take place on 12th December, the RLA has published its six point manifesto for the private rented sector.

One of the RLA’s six key asks is for the minority of criminal landlords to be rooted out of the sector, through effective enforcement activity. Specifically, this would involve ensuring that local authorities are adequately resourced to enforce against criminal landlords, and restrict landlord licensing until the local authority can prove they are using their existing enforcement powers.

Councils have several enforcement powers available to them to tackle the minority of criminal landlords. This includes civil penalty notices and rent repayment orders.

More funding to be made available to local authorities to tackle criminal landlords

Last week, the Government announced that local authorities will be able to access almost £4 million in new funding, as part of what it describes as a “crackdown on criminal landlords” for 2019/20.

The RLA welcomes the additional funding that will be made available, but the association also ha concerns that it does not go far enough.

Commenting at the time, RLA policy director David Smith said:

“We welcome the government’s focus on rooting out criminal landlords.

“For too long the debate has been driven by ideological calls for more regulation of the sector. What is needed is better enforcement of the powers already available to root out the minority who bring the sector into disrepute.

“That said, today’s funding is simply not enough to achieve this.

“Rather than throwing odd bits of cash around, the government needs to provide proper, multi-year funding to councils to enable them to plan and prepare clear strategies to find the crooks whilst supporting good landlords.

“This includes ensuring enough funding is in place to recruit sufficient numbers of well-trained enforcement officers.”

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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