Council victory over negligent student landlord

By on 01/04/2011 in News

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

Mr Muhammad Ali (41), of Charles Road, Small Heath, was today found guilty in Birmingham Magistrates Court for failing to apply for a HMO Licence for his 3-storey property in Croydon Road, Selly Oak. He was fined £10,000 plus prosecution costs of £4,205, taking the total cost to £14,205.

Mr Ali leased his property on Croydon Road to 5 students. He had previously been successfully prosecuted by the council over another property on Raddlebarn Road, for which he was fined a total of £12, 041 (including legal costs).

Since April 2006, there has been a requirement to licence houses of three storeys or more, occupied by 5 or more tenants, who have no family connection and share amenities such as a bathroom or kitchen.

The license 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.

The Council had written to Mr Ali and made visits to his property on a number of occasions, advising him to licence his property prior to starting legal proceedings. Despite considerable effort by the Licensing team he ignored advice to apply for the licence.

Elaine Elkington, Strategic Director of Housing and Constituencies at Birmingham City Council, said: “I am determined to ensure all private tenants, including students sharing accommodation,  live in safe housing. My officers give landlords every opportunity to apply for a licence, so there is no excuse for such failures.

“The council has now licensed over 1500 properties and I recognise there are many good landlords in Birmingham who follow the rules. I am delighted with the stern sanction applied in the case.”

Landlords who think their houses may need a licence or need general advice on the legal requirements are strongly advised to call the HMO Licensing Helpline on 0121 303 4009 as soon as possible or visit the Council's website for advice and guidance.

Ends

Notes to editors
1. The Housing Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities to implement a mandatory licensing system for Houses in Multiple Occupation (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.
2. Local Authorities also have the provision to extend licensing control to cover lower risk HMOs or selective licensing of private rented dwelling where the council considers it will benefit tenants and communities, in areas of low demand and/or areas with problems of anti-social behaviour.

Further information from Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969

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