Shared house HMO landlords who failed to licence and maintain their properties have paid thousands of pounds in fines and costs in three separate court cases.
Neil Jakubowski-Birch of Maiden Lane, Calne, Wiltshire, was fined £5,300 and ordered to pay £3,066 costs by Swindon Magistrates for failing to licence a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and offences related to the management of the property.
The four storey shared house had seven bedsits in poor condition.
Housing officers told the court that when they visited, they saw broken windows, inadequate fire doors and that the emergency lighting and smoke detectors were broken or disconnected.
“Large properties such as this with missing or defective fire safety equipment pose a considerable risk to tenants,” said a council spokesman.
“A fully functioning fire alarm and emergency lighting system along with properly maintained fire doors are vital to warn tenants in the event of a fire and to control fire spread enabling occupants to get out safely.”
A tenant in a shared house was so scared of electrocution from rain flooding through a live light fitting that she wrapped the ceiling rose in plastic.
HMO landlord Farad Motamedi was fined £4,000 with £4,100 costs for breaking HMO regulations at the shared house in Toxteth.
The court was told water poured through a hole in a ceiling on to the light.
Other problems included:
- The fire alarms did not working,
- Fire doors had holes and did not fit frames, so were useless in slowing down the spread of a fire
- The flats had no heating and the building was riddled with damp and mould
Motamedi claimed that the problems were due to the tenants vandalising the property. He explained to magistrates that he believed the tenants were responsible for maintaining the flats.
Motamedi, of Tarbock Road, Huyton, was found guilty of 17 charges.
District Judge Wendy Lloyd sitting at Liverpool Magistrates Court said Motamedi had a casual to the safety of his tenants and he had put people’s lives at risk.
Children in damp homes
A Bradford HMO landlord who ignored maintenance at two buy to let homes was fined £7,000 and must pay £3,175 costs after admitting seven charges of failing to comply with council improvement orders.
Paul Atha, of Atha Properties Ltd, a Leeds property company, ‘wilfully ignored’ the needs of two mums and their children renting his properties.
Problems included rotten kitchen worktops, faulty electrics, broken windows, damp and mould.
Bradford magistrates chairman Beryl Eakin said: “We have no evidence of any safety certificates for either property, and no evidence of work being carried out prior to the tenants leaving.”
Atha told the court he would appeal the sentence at crown court.