The Birmingham City Council HMO licencing team is seriously cracking down on rogue landlords.
A Birmingham landlord was found guilty of failing to comply with an improvement notice at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (7 August 2017).
Majid Ali, 35, of Westridge Road, Moseley, has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 after pleading not guilty at an earlier hearing (25 May 2017) to not carrying out works at a rental property in Tiverton Road, Selly Oak, as set out in an improvement notice served under the Housing Act 2004.
Ali was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £5,837.35 in costs plus a £170 victim surcharge – totalling £10,007.
Birmingham City Council brought the prosecution after housing officers visited the property – home to three students – on 13 July 2016 and served Ali with an improvement notice on 25 August 2016, after significant hazards were found at the property. Officers returned to the same address on 16 November 2016, when it was discovered the improvement notice had not been complied with.
These included no mains-powered or linked smoke detectors were installed, and neither had any fire doors. Damp and mould growth was also found throughout the property, due to inadequate heating and thermal insulation.
Robert James, director of housing at Birmingham City Council, said:
“Ali displayed a total disregard for the health and safety of the occupants and the property was in a poor condition with inadequate fire precautions. I am glad that we have been able to bring this landlord to justice.” The improvement notice remains in place and housing officers are due to re-inspect the premises at a later date.
A landlord from the Moseley area of Birmingham was ordered to pay a total of £3,586 at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (3 April 2017) for failing to apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licence for a student property on Hubert Road in Selly Oak.
Ms Shegufta Noreen, age 44, of Pickwick Grove, Moseley, Birmingham pleaded guilty to not holding an HMO Licence and was fined £315 with £3,240.21 costs and victim surcharge of £31.50.
Robert James, commenting on the case said:
“HMO regulations exist because of the increased risk of fire in these sorts of properties.
“Noreen failed to apply for a HMO Licence which guarantees that houses are registered and checked. The fee for this is just £1,150 for five years but she now has just 28 days to pay £3,586 which is substantially more.
“I am glad that we have been able to support and protect these vulnerable tenants and bring Noreen to justice through our specialist work on rogue landlords.”
The three storey property in Selly Oak had seven rooms to let. On 24 May 2016 officers from Birmingham City Council’s HMO team visited the property, found six Birmingham University international students living in appalling conditions at the property and began their investigation.
A barrister who is also a landlord from Birmingham has been fined for having a fire hazard rental property. Lewis Perry, age 39, also of Hunton Road, Erdington, pleaded guilty to failing to obtain an HMO licence and for breaching management regulations. He was fined £3,500 with £1,120 full costs and victim surcharge of £120.
The Birmingham barrister was ordered to pay £4,740 at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (6 July 2017) for breaching the management regulations at a three storey property in Hunton Road, Erdington. He didn’t have mains powered interlinked fire alarms or heat detectors in the kitchens. He also didn’t have any fire doors or emergency lighting to the escape route, all designed to protect tenants from fire.
Perry is Head of a Chambers whose work involves both regulatory and landlord/tenant work. He also claimed to be a member of the National Landlords Association, a claim that Birmingham city council say was untrue.
Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for housing and homes, Cllr Peter Griffiths, said:
“As a barrister working with landlords and tenants, Perry should have been aware of his legal responsibilities to license and install fire precautions. I am glad that we have been able to bring this landlord to justice through our specialist work on rogue landlords.”
Two more Birmingham landlords from Shirley, Solihull were ordered to pay a total of £13,387 at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (8 June 2017) for breaching management regulations at a three storey property on Green Lane in Small Heath – including those regulations designed to protect tenants from fire.
Abdul Qadir, age 56, of Longmore Road, Shirley and Dr Mohammed Anwar age 49, of Marshall Lake Road, Shirley both pleaded guilty to breaching management regulations. Qadir was fined £5,000 with £1,550 full costs and victim surcharge of £170 and Anwar was fined £5,000 with £1,497 full costs and victim surcharge of £170.
The property was visited in October 2016 by council’s officers following a complaint of disrepair from a tenant. Officers found many defects in the property including:
- No working fire detection throughout the property
- No emergency lighting
- Many doors were not fire doors and those that were lacked cold smoke seals and self-closers
- No fire blanket in the kitchen
- Bare and exposed wires in the bathroom and hall
- Missing handrails
- Trailing wires and extension cables
- The central heating system was not working and the boiler was located in a locked room
- Trailing electrics
- Trailing electrics at Green Lane property
- Peeling décor and mould growth to the bathroom ceiling
- Broken kitchen cupboards and units
- Broken bath panels
- Loose electrical sockets and light switches
- Missing splash backs to the kitchen work surface
- Hole in the kitchen floor
- No lighting to the second floor landing
- Poorly wired and dangerous light fitting to the staircase to the second floor
- Broken cupboards at Green Lane property
- Broken cupboards at Green Lane property
Birmingham City Council’s director of housing, Robert James, said:
“Qadir and Anwar displayed a total disregard for the health and safety of the occupants and the property was in a poor condition with inadequate fire precautions. I am glad that we have been able to bring this landlord to justice through our specialist work on rogue landlords.”
Another Birmingham landlord was ordered to pay nearly £4,000 after being found guilty of failing to apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence and of four breaches of the HMO Management Regulations. Mohammed Yousaf, 36, of Green Road, Hall Green, was convicted in his absence after failing to attend Birmingham Magistrates’ Court today (June 23).
Yousaf was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,758 court costs and a £100 victim surcharge. The charges relate to a three-storey property in Rookery Road, Selly Oak, with five bedrooms, a shared lounge, kitchen and one shared bathroom, plus an en-suite with external access.
The property was referred to Birmingham City Council by the University of Birmingham’s community warden, whose team had identified it as a potentially unlicensed HMO. As no HMO licence application had been received for the property, council officers visited the address on October 22 2015 and spoke to one of the tenants, who confirmed that five students lived there.
An inspection of the property found numerous issues, including a damaged fire door for a second floor bedroom held together with a piece of wood, no smoke detector in the ground floor living room, a tumble drier installed in the escape route, no self-closers on any of the fire doors to bedrooms and no fire blanket in the communal kitchen.
Yousaf finally applied for an HMO licence on 18 December 2015.