Council wins victory over student landlord

By on 04/09/2009 in News

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

Safiya Dakri, owner of 944 Pershore Road, Selly Oak has been found guilty in Birmingham Magistrates Court for failing to apply for a licence for her rented property, which was let to students. She was fined £10,000 plus costs of £1149 on 3 September.

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 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.

Ms Dakri purchased the property in September 2006 and the Council had written to her and made visits to her property on a number of occasions advising her to licence the property and establish who lived there. Despite considerable effort by the Licensing team she ignored advice to apply for a licence.

Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor John Lines said: “As the academic year is about to start, parents want to ensure their children will be living in safe housing away from home.  Birmingham offers an excellent accreditation scheme, but will not hesitate to prosecute rogue landlords who fail to comply with the law.  Thankfully they are in the minority.

“The council has now licensed over 1100 properties and I applaud those good landlords across Birmingham who take their responsibilities seriously.”
Landlords who think their houses meet the criteria are being encouraged to call the HMO Licensing Helpline on 303 4009 as soon as possible 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 Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969

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