West Midlands Police and Birmingham council teamed up to investigate a property in the city which was riddled with health and safety issues.
Its owner, Anthony Freeman, has now pleaded guilty to failing to obtain a House in Multiple Occupation licence and numerous breaches of HMO management regulations.
He has been fined £25,000, and has to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and costs to Birmingham council of £2,454.
Freeman had been letting a three storey property in the city’s Stockland Green suburb to at least five individuals.
The police and council officers found that the property had no smoke detectors in the bedrooms; there was no fire blanket in the kitchen, inadequate emergency lighting on the escape route, missing staircase handrails, non-compliant fire doors and broken and leaking guttering and waste pipes.
The council says Freeman is an experienced landlord whose main business is home improvements and who was well aware of the requirements of HMO licensing.
“He was housing vulnerable tenants either on benefits or low incomes, in a property in which the fire precautions were inadequate and the property condition was generally neglected putting the lives in danger of those tenants who relied on him to provide safe accommodation” says a statement from the authority.