A property letting company that failed to apply for House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences at three properties in north Birmingham has today been fined £8,000 at Birmingham magistrates’ court.
Ultrabarn plc of Chester Road failed to apply for licences for three properties at Church Road and Chester Road in Erdington and Rectory Road in Sutton Coldfield. The company was fined £1,500 for each of the three offences, plus £500 each for seven breaches of HMO management regulations. They were also ordered to pay full costs of £2,631 and a victim surcharge of £120.
An HMO licence ensures management standards and housing conditions are maintained and includes a requirement for basic safety, including means of escape from fire.
At the Rectory Road property the letting company failed to ensure the means of escape from fire was maintained, and there were holes in the ceiling around service pipes. They also failed to ensure firefighting equipment and fire alarms were in good working order.
At Chester Road there was a similar breach of HMO regulations regarding means of escape from fire; additionally there was no fire blanket in the communal kitchen, no smoke detectors where required in communal areas, and insanitary conditions and inadequate provision for the disposal of rubbish.
The prosecution was brought by the HMO licensing team at Birmingham City Council.
Councillor John Cotton, cabinet member for neighbourhood management and homes, said: “Ultrabarn is an experienced and well-known letting company in this part of Birmingham and really should be setting an example; instead they fell well below standards we expect of the private rented sector.
“I want to assure tenants across the city that we will prosecute landlords who break the law. I would also urge landlords who are unsure about licensing standards to contact the council immediately.”
Landlords who are unsure of the licensing requirement should telephone 0121 303 4009 or visit http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/hmo