Wembley landlord’s application for council tax discount leads to investigation and substantial fine for managing an unlicensed HMO

Sunday, May 19th, 2019 - Brent Council

A rogue landlord who tried to con her tenants, the council tax department and private sector housing team has had her web of lies blown away by Brent Council in court.

Diana Thompson of Barn Way, Wembley, pretended that she was a lodger to her tenants who were renting rooms inside her detached property.

Brent Council landlord prosecution 2019

The two-storey unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) came to Brent Council Housing Enforcement officers’ attention following a tip-off from council tax officers that Ms Thompson was trying to claim a single person’s discount when in fact she was living in a home that she was renting out to seven other people.

When licensing enforcement officers raided the property in July last year, Ms Thompson lied by saying that she was a relative of the landlady and that the first floor of the property was owned by another landlord.

But enforcement officers cracked through Ms Thompson’s layers of deceit to hold her accountable for failure to obtain an HMO licence and failure to comply with fire safety regulations.

Brent Council landlord prosecution 2019

Photo: council officers found internal glazed doors providing inadequate fire separation

On 25 April 2019, Diana Thompson was ordered to pay fines totalling £20,000 by Willesden Magistrates Court. This included £15,000 for failure to license an HMO and £5,000 for failing to comply with fire safety regulations. She was also ordered to pay a further £4,678 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform at Brent Council said:

Rogue landlords will not get away with pulling the wool over our eyes. If a landlord or agent is breaking the law, we’ll find out and we’ll hold them accountable. Our aim is to drive up housing standards by supporting good landlords and enabling vulnerable tenants to be aware of their rights as renters.

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