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Landlord hit with £25k fine for HMO failings

A landlord has been fined almost £25,000 for a series of failings relating to a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Birmingham-based Salih Mahfood Hassan Mohamed, 49, has been ordered to pay £24,158 after being prosecuted by Birmingham City Council last week.

The fine is split into £2,000 for failing to obtain an HMO licence, £2,000 per breach of HMO Management Regulations, £2,038 in costs and a victim surcharge of £120.

The rental property, in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham, did have an HMO licence which expired in May 2014 and was never subsequently renewed.

Failings related to living conditions at the property came to light when the Midlands Fire Service referred the property to Birmingham City Council after concerns were raised.

Housing officers then found that the property's fire alarm system was not working and that the fire escape route was blocked with rubbish, wood and a ladder.

Inspectors also uncovered mouldy shower rooms and low windows which weren't fitted with safety glass.

On top of this, 'self-closers' on the fire doors weren't working, the back garden was overgrown and full of waste and the front door lock was faulty.

“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," said Councillor Peter Griffiths, Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for Housing and Homes.

"West Midlands Fire Service raised concerns about this property and our officers found a shocking list of breaches."

Griffiths said that the landlord left the country for a period of time and instructed a friend to collect rent on his behalf.

The councillor noted that Mohamed's tenants were living in appalling conditions and their safety was at considerable risk.

“The council has over 1,800 licensed properties. Most landlords are responsible and law abiding, but the council’s HMO Licensing Team will continue to pursue and prosecute those that aren’t," he said.

Griffiths added that Birmingham City Council has invested money in its work on 'rogue landlords'.

Last week Sheffield City Council announced it had won a landmark case against a sub-letting landlord who illegally evicted his tenant, while Hull City Council imposed fines on two landlords for separate fire safety failings in their rental properties.

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