An ‘unscrupulous’ landlord has been hit with a record-breaking fine – on the day a parliamentary committee called for councils to have tougher enforcement powers over the private rented sector.
Leila Amjadi was found guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court of 35 offences in relation to the failure to obtain House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences, and for breaches under the HMO Management Regulations.
She was ordered to pay a total fine of £182,314.90, the largest imposed on a landlord in Birmingham.
The offences were in relation to the four properties Amjadi owns in the Selly Oak and Edgbaston areas of Birmingham.
All told, Amjadi was fined £85,000, ordered to pay full costs to the Council of £22,974.90 and a victim surcharge of £170.
In addition, she was ordered to pay a compensation order to 11 of the tenants, totalling £22,000.
Amjadi ‘s company, Vertu Capital Ltd was also found guilty of 21 offences relating to two of the HMO properties in Selly Oak and was fined £52,000 plus a victim surcharge of £170.
The court heard how, in 2016, Birmingham City Council officers became aware that Amjadi’s properties were being let without the appropriate HMO licences.
Amjadi has over 10 years’ experience in the property letting industry and was well aware of her responsibility to obtain licences, having previously made HMO licence applications.
The council also received numerous complaints from occupants and local residents regarding the poor maintenance of the properties.
Following inspections by council officers from the private rented service team, 31 breaches of the HMO Management Regulations were found, including missing fire blankets, fire doors that were either missing or inadequate, and smoke detectors which were hanging loose from the ceilings.
The district judge said that, despite the significant income from her properties, Amjadi was an “unscrupulous” landlord who did not care for the health and safety of her tenants, and her behaviour and excuses resulted in them suffering unacceptable living conditions.
Amjadi was also found to have deliberately used delaying tactics when dealing with both her tenants and Birmingham City Council.
Speaking after the case, Robert James, director of housing at Birmingham City Council, said: “We are delighted with the result of this case.
“This is the largest fine that Birmingham has seen for these type of offences, and it sends out a strong message to all landlords that Birmingham City Council will use all its’ enforcement powers to ensure that tenants are protected from rogue landlords who neglect their responsibilities”.