A rogue landlady has been hit with a fine of £24,000 after conning her tenants and the local authorities with a complex web of lies.
Diana Thompson was taken to task by Brent Council and prosecuted for failure to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and failure to comply with fire safety regulations.
Thompson convinced tenants living in her unlicensed, detached two-storey HMO property that she was a lodger.
The property was raided last year following a tip-off from council tax officers that Thompson was trying to claim a single person's discount when in fact she was living in a home that she was also letting to seven other people.
When the property was visited by council enforcement officers last July, Thompson lied, saying she was a relative of the landlady and that the first floor of the property was owned by someone else.
Brent Council says her 'web of lies' was recently 'blown away' when on trial at Willesden Magistrates Court. Her fines included £15,000 for failure to licence a property, £5,000 for failing to comply with fire safety regulations, £4,678 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge.
"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," says Councillor Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council cabinet member for housing and welfare reform.
"Our aim is to drive up housing standards by supporting good landlords and enabling vulnerable tenants to be aware of their rights as renters."