Twelve tenants were crammed into a squalid, unsafe, unlicensed HMO paying rent to a landlord who said he “didn’t care”.
This week, a court hit that landlord with nearly £4,000 in fines and costs.
Jabbar Khalid, 25, of Bordesley Green, Birmingham, admitted failing to obtain an HMO licence and for breaching a huge list of management regulations.
He was fined £1,800 with £2,000 costs and victim surcharge of £60.
Birmingham magistrates heard how officers from the city council’s private rented services team visited the HMO in March this year – accompanied by police – to assess if the property required an HMO licence and to check on its condition.
They met five of the 12 people living there and found that the property – in the Erdington area of the city – in a neglected state of repair.
The defaults discovered included:
The fire alarm panel was not working.
There were no fire blankets in the main kitchen or the kitchen in the ground floor middle self-contained flat.
The smoke detector in the ground floor front part of the hall was “beeping”.
The smoke detector head in the ground floor rear part of the hall was missing.
The fire door to the bedroom of the second floor front room fitted poorly into the frame.
There were no thumb-turn locks to the fire doors to the bedrooms. (These are required so that, in the event of a fire, the occupant can escape quickly rather than searching for their keys to open the door lock).
In the first floor rear bedroom there was no self-closer to the door and the smoke detector was covered over.
A fire door to a ground floor room was a poor fit to the frame.
The central heating system was not working.
In the first floor middle bedroom (which was occupied by a woman and a baby) all the window catches were broken meaning that the windows could never be closed. In addition, there was no self-closer to the fire door, intumescent strips or cold smoke seals to top of the fire door and the door would not latch into the frame.
The light fitting in one flat was loose and the shower control unit would not switch on or off.
In the ground floor communal shower/WC room there was mould growth to the ceilings and walls, the light was not working, was not room sealed, the pull cord was loose and the shower unit was in a poor condition.
In the ground floor rear wing bedroom the fire door was broken and there was no smoke detector in the room.
In the ground floor communal kitchen there was peeling décor, dampness to wall, mould growth to the wall, a loose electrical socket, cracked glazing to the window, a kitchen unit cupboard door was missing, the heat detector was beeping and there was a leak on the pipe to the sink unit/washing machine.
On the first floor landing the door at the top of stairs from ground floor had a loose hinge and the first to second floor staircase had missing balustrades.
In the first floor front bedroom there was a broken external pane to the double-glazed window, the opening lights would not open or close properly, the fire door did not close into its frame and there was a burnt electrical socket outlet.
In the first floor bathroom there was mould growth to ceiling and walls, the hinge to the opening light was broken, the shower unit was not connected to a shower head, there was an inadequate lock to the door, the wall tiles were coming off wall and the WC seat was loose.
There was a hole in the wall and loose brickwork in the ground floor front part of the hall.
The court that, in interview, Khalid told investigators that when he first took over responsibility for the property from his father he went there regularly, but he didn’t care anymore.
Speaking after the case, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for housing and homes, Cllr Peter Griffiths, said: “Khalid admitted to my officers that he didn’t care about the property and he did not take any responsibility for ensuring the safety and comfort of his tenants.
“The list of defects at the property goes on and on and the pictures officers took confirm that the property offered little more than a roof over the tenants’ heads.
“I am appalled by the conditions that his tenants had to endure and I am extremely pleased that we have been able to successfully prosecute another rogue landlord through our specialist work.”