Birmingham City Council prosecutes unlawful landlord

By on 28/06/2012 in News

Birmingham City Council has successfully prosecuted a landlord who failed to obtain a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licence from the council.

Landlords Paul and Jacquelyne Smith failed to obtain mandatory HMO licences from the council while operating as Blossom Lettings Ltd of Coleshill Street, Sutton Coldfield.

Both Mr and Mrs Smith pleaded guilty at Birmingham Magistrates' Court for failing to apply for licences for three properties in Upper Holland Road Sutton Coldfield, Summerfield Crescent Edgbaston and Earlsbury Gardens in Perry Barr.

Blossom Lettings Ltd was fined £1,500 and was ordered to pay the council's costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £15.  Tenants of these properties can make an application for a rent repayment order to the Residential Property Tribunal to recover up to a maximum of 12 months rent paid to Blossom Lettings Ltd.

Jacqui Kennedy, Director of Regulation and Enforcement, said: “The City Council is committed to working with legitimate and legally compliant landlords.  Unlicensed landlords have a clear financial and business advantage over their legally compliant neighbours.  This is not acceptable.

“Birmingham City Council is committed to a level playing field of licensees and ensuring that the highest standards of HMOs exist in the city, this is all possible through the licensing regime.”

The Council has issued over 1700 licences, demonstrating that there are plenty of good landlords in Birmingham. The HMO Licensing Team continues to enforce the law where necessary and have had a number of successful prosecutions in the Courts.  Landlords who are unsure of the licensing requirements should check the Council web site or telephone the team on 0121 303 4009.

The legal requirement is to license houses of three storeys or more, occupied by five or more people, who have no family connection and share an amenity such as a bathroom or kitchen.  This licence ensures that management standards and housing conditions in the private rented sector are maintained and includes requirements for basic safety including gas, electrical and means of escape from fire.

Landlords who are unsure of the licensing requirements should telephone 0121 303 4009 or go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite/privatelandlords?packedargs=website%3D4&rendermode=live

Ends
For more information contact Karen Blanchette on 0121 303 6969.

Notes to editors
The Housing Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities to implement a mandatory licensing system for HMOs, which pose the greatest health and safety risks to tenants.

•    Under the Act, there will be three types of licensing of HMOs for properties that are covered: Compulsory – 3 or more storeys high have five or more people in more than one household and share amenities such as bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.

•    Additional - A discretionary power that council may decide to apply to a particular type of HMO, or example, two story properties occupied by three or more students or asylum seekers.

•    Selective - licensing of other residential accommodation. Example where there is low demand for housing and/or antisocial behaviour.

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