Landlord and agent in Birmingham fined

By on 19/10/2015 in Cllr Cotton, News
Just one of the breaches at the property in Selly Oak

Just one of the breaches at the property in Selly Oak

A landlord and an agent for a property in Selly Oak, Birmingham, were fined at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (19 October 2015) for, respectively, failing to apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence and for nine breaches of the regulations, including many that related to fire safety.

Ayoub Yakoob, age 38, of Ashridge Way, Morden, Surrey, the owner of the property, was fined £6,400 , with £3,696 costs and a victim surcharge of £120 after pleading guilty to failure to obtain an HMO licence. Agent Mohammed Shehzad, also known as Ashsard Khan to the tenants and the owner, age 38, of St Georges Road, Redditch, was fined £450, with £150 costs and a victim surcharge of £20 after pleading guilty to nine breaches of the HMO management regulations.

When officers inspected the property, they found that the fire alarm wasn’t working, the smoke detectors were missing, there were no notices indicating the escape route, and there was a hole in the ceiling of the main escape route which prevented it from being fire resistant for the statutory half an hour.  In addition the self-closing devices for the fire doors were defective or missing.

Alongside the breaches concerning fire safety, officers found that chimney breasts had been removed and the chimney was not adequately supported, walls were left unplastered, rooms were covered in plaster dust, mould was growing in a bedroom, one of the bathrooms had been removed, the front door could not close and building rubble had been left in the rear yard.

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management and Homes, Cllr John Cotton, said: “The HMO licence exists so that officers can carry out checks to ensure the safety of tenants.  Failing to apply for the licence meant that these checks were avoided for some time.

“Mr Yakoob and Mr Shehzad put their tenants’ lives at risk by failing to provide basic fire safety measures and their tenants were also forced to live in filthy and insecure accommodation.

“The council has around 1,800 licensed properties which demonstrates that most landlords are responsible and law abiding, but the council’s HMO Licensing Team will continue to bring to justice 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 basic safety including gas, electrical and means of escape from fire.

A tenant living in a bedsit house of three or more storeys is almost 17 times more likely to be killed in a fire than an adult living in a similar single-occupancy house (fire risks in HMOs – DETR 1997).

-Ends-

For further media information and pics or to arrange an interview with Cllr John Cotton, contact the press office on 0121 303 3287

Notes to editors –

The breaches were –

Failure to obtain a HMO licence and nine breaches of the HMO Management Regulations 2006 including:

  • The manager’s contact details were not displayed in the property
  • There was a hole in the ceiling of the area beneath the staircase from the ground to the first floor which, being the main escape route, should be half-hour fire resistant
  • The self-closing devices to four fire doors were either defective or missing
  • The fire alarm system was not working
  • There were no notices indicating the escape route
  • There were missing smoke detectors, missing safety strips to fire doors and no fire blanket in the kitchen
  • Two chimney breasts had been removed, the walls were left unplastered and the rooms were covered in plaster dust
  • The front external door would not close
  • There were no notices indicating the escape route
  • One of the bathrooms in the property had been removed
  • The rear yard had been dug up, external drainage work left incomplete and building rubble left in it
  • Mould growth on a bedroom wall
  • There were no bins for the storage of refuse

 

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 per breach of regulation.

A first application for a HMO licence costs £700 – £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 at a reduced cost.

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