Council wins victory over student landlord

By on 18/11/2010 in News

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

Shokat Ali, 35, of School Road, Moseley has been found guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court of failing to apply for a licence for a student-let property in Selly Oak.

He was found guilty on November 16 and fined £10,000 as well as being ordered to pay £2,500 legal costs.

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

The 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.

Ali is already the licence holder of four other student properties in the Selly Oak area and was therefore aware of the licensing requirements.

The tenants can now apply to the Residential Property Tribunal to recover the rent they have paid to Ali for the last 12 months.

Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor John Lines said: “I am determined to ensure all Birmingham tenants, including students who often have to share accommodation with a number of other individuals, are protected and my officers gave the landlord every opportunity to apply for a licence.

“The Council has now licensed almost 1,500 properties and I recognise there are many good landlords in Birmingham but there is no room for unscrupulous landlords who fail to comply with the law.

“The HMO licensing Team has had many successful prosecutions in the last 18 months and we will continue to ensure landlords in this city comply with the law and provide safe housing. “

Landlords who think their houses may require a licence are urged to call the HMO Licensing Helpline on 0121 303 4009 without delay or visit the council's website for advice and guidance about licensing requirements.

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 Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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