Birmingham takes action against HMO landlord in first civil penalty case

City council secures £2,000 fine for failure to appropriately fit an unlicensed HMO with fire safety measures.

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Birmingham city council has issued its first civil penalty against a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) landlord in the city’s Small Heath area.

It’s the first case since the introduction of the civil enforcement policy introduced by the council earlier this year.

The landlord was ordered to pay £2,000 for failure to appropriately fit the property with fire safety measures.

Housing nine people, the property was also found to be operating without a license.

While the new policy brings powers to issue fines of up to £30,000, mitigating factors can be taken into account by officers.

In this instance, the immediate co-operation of the landlord with the investigation and the swift completion of the works to the property to a high standard meant that the fine was reduced.

There are roughly 6,000 HMO properties across the city, all of which are required to be licensed.

However, to date only 1,900 have applied to the city council for a license.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, council cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods, acknowledged HMO properties as having a “massive role” to play in providing affordable housing in the city.

“However, these properties must also meet building and fire safety standards, be properly regulated, appropriately licensed, and ultimately provide good-quality housing for citizens who are paying a monthly rent,” she said.

“We’ll continue to work closely with the private-rented sector to ensure that people have a broad range of choice of where they live in Birmingham.”

Other offences that can result in the council issuing a civil penalty include failure to comply with an improvement notice, contravention of an overcrowding notice, and a failure to comply with management regulations in respect of HMOs.

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