A landlord from Birmingham has been fined £24,000 for renting out a dangerous bedsit in the Sparkhill area of the city without a licence.
The property was being rented out to multiple tenants by Salih Mahfood Hassan Mohamed, who did not posses a current Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence. The bedsit was subsequently investigated by housing officers after the West Midlands Fire Service expressed concerns about the safety of the tenants living there. They found a defective fire alarm, as well as a ladder, wood and rubbish blocking a critical escape route.
Furthermore, the windows were not fitted with the appropriate safety glass, there were broken lights, a faulty handrail on a set of stairs and mould in the shower room. Fire doors were not working correctly either, and the rear garden was overgrown and full of refuse.
All landlords have a duty to provide adequate standards of accommodation to their tenants. As part of this duty, landlord’s insurance is a requirement of all rented apartments or houses. Landlord’s insurance will also cover a wide range of additional circumstances, including property owners’ liability, damage to property and subsistence.
Mr Mohamed appeared before Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, where he pleaded guilty to 10 breaches of the HMO Management Regulations, as well as failing to renew his HMO licence on two separate occasions. He was charged £24,100 as a result of the crimes.
After the sentencing, Councillor Peter Griffiths, the cabinet member for housing and homes, said: “HMO licensing exists because tenants living in this type of accommodation are almost 17 times more likely to be killed in a fire than an adult living in a similar single-occupancy house.
“Mr Mohamed left the country for a period of time but whilst he ensured that a friend continued to collect the rent on his behalf, he failed to keep his tenants safe, leaving them to live in appalling conditions and at considerable risk.”