A well-known local landlord pleaded guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (6 July 2015) to failing to apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence and of breaching regulations.
Amrik Singh Gill, age 56, of Vernon Avenue in Handsworth Wood was fined and has to pay a total of £19,418.57 for failing to obtain a HMO licence (£3,000), multiple breaches of the HMO Management Regulations (£8,000), costs (£8,298.57) and victim surcharge (£120).
When officers inspected the property, they found that he had failed to maintain any of the fire alarms or correctly display notices indicating the escape route. He had also failed to ensure that the water supply and drainage systems were working correctly in that the soil and vent pipe in the kitchen was leaking.
Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management and Homes, Cllr John Cotton, said: “A tenant living in bedsit accommodation such as this property is almost 17 times more likely to be killed in a fire than an adult living in a similar single-occupancy house. It is because of these shocking statistics that HMO licensing exists and officers carry out checks to ensure the safety of tenants.
“Mr Gill not only provided his tenants with what can only be described as shoddy accommodation, he also put his tenants’ lives at risk and I welcome the fine imposed by Birmingham Magistrates Court.
“The council has over 1,800 licensed properties which demonstrates that most landlords are responsible and law abiding, but the council’s HMO Licensing Team will continue to pursue and prosecute those that aren’t.”
Landlords who are unsure of the licensing requirement should telephone 0121 303 4009 or visit http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/hmo
Since April 2006, there has been a requirement to license houses of three storeys or more, occupied by five or more tenants in two or more households, who share an amenity such as a bathroom or kitchen.
The House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence ensures that management standards and housing conditions in the private rented sector are maintained and includes a requirement for the safety of the gas and electrical installations and means of escape from fire.
Amrik Singh Gill had breached HMO Management regulations and was fined, compete breakdown of fine as follows:
- Failure to obtain a HMO licence – fine of £3,000
- Failure to ensure that the manager’s contact details were displayed in the property – fine of £500
- Failure to ensure that any fire alarms were maintained in good working order – fine of £3,000
- Failure to display notices indicating the location of means of escape to enable them to be clearly visible to the occupiers – fine of £3,000
- Failure to ensure that the water supply and drainage system serving the property was maintained in good, clean and working condition in that the soil and vent pipe in the kitchen was leaking – fine of £1,000
- Failure to ensure that any bins were provided for the storage of refuse and litter pending disposal – fine of £500
Failure to obtain a HMO licence for the property carries a maximum fine of £20k. Breaches of the HMO Management Regulations carry a maximum fine of £5k for each breach of regulation.
A first application for a HMO licence costs £1,150 for up to five years which amounts to a cost to the landlord of less than £5 a week. The renewal of a licence is £850.
Image shows Birmingham Magistrates Court