London landlord fined for Selly Oak student property
A landlord from London was ordered to pay £4,485.17 at Birmingham Magistrates Court today for breaching legislation designed to protect student tenants at a property in Tiverton Road, Selly Oak.
Amit Sharma, age 34, of Brocklebank Road, South West London, pleaded guilty to failure to obtain an HMO licence and breaching HMO Management Regulations, including those designed to protect tenants from fire. Sharma was fined £2,795 with £1,520.17 costs and victim surcharge of £170.
One of the student tenants contacted Birmingham City Council in October 2016 about the state of disrepair at the property which prompted a full investigation. Despite written requests to Sharma, many of the issues were not resolved and council officers from the private rented services team decided to prosecute.
Cabinet member for Housing and Homes, Cllr Peter Griffiths, said: “Sharma failed to obtain an HMO licence and also breached HMO Management Regulations despite guidance from council officers.
“This licensing became mandatory in 2006 because a tenant living in a bedsit of three or more storeys is almost 17 times more likely to be killed in a fire than an adult living in in a similar single-occupancy house.
“Quite apart from the poor decoration throughout the property, Sharma showed no regard for the safety of his young tenants and put them in danger.
“I am glad that we have been able to protect these tenants and bring Sharma to justice through our specialist work on rogue landlords. I would urge tenants in similar situations to contact the council’s private rented services team for help.”
The full list of defects identified at the property included:
- Failure to provide a fire door or fire resistant construction under the stairs on the ground floor
- Combustible materials were stored in the escape route under the stairs
- There was no self-closing device to the fire door on the ground floor front bedroom
- Bare plaster with no decoration to the bathroom ceiling
- There was poor and flaking décor to the walls adjacent to the boiler in the kitchen
- There was poor and flaking décor to the ceiling above the shower in the first floor shower room
- There was damp staining to the living room ceiling
- The internal door between the rear lobby and the bathroom was holed and damaged
- There were insecure treads to the staircase which were damaged and defective
- The mechanical fan in the first floor shower room was not working
- Glazing to the window in the kitchen was cracked
- The front external door was ill-fitting, the latch was defective and there was no threshold strip and excessive gaps between the door and frame
- The first floor rear bedroom window had a broken handle and the window was not open able
The Private Rented Services team can be contacted via the council’s website at Birmingham.gov.uk by phone on 0121 303 5070, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by post at Private Rented Services, PO Box 16589, Birmingham, B2 2JB.