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Landlord fined £25k for poorly managed HMO

A buy-to-let landlord in Birmingham has been fined £25,000 after pleading guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court for regulation breaches in relation to a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Aside from fail to obtain a HMO licence, Anthony Freeman also pleaded guilty to ‘numerous’ breaches of the HMO Management Regulations at a three storey property in Stockland Green.

An investigation by Birmingham City Council, in conjunction with West Midlands Police, found that the property had no smoke detectors in the bedrooms, as well as having no fire blanket in the kitchen alongside ‘inadequate’ emergency lighting on the escape route.

Additionally, there were also missing staircase handrails, non compliant fire doors and broken and leaking guttering and waste pipes.

The council argued in court that there was no excuse for Freeland to neglect his responsibilities as a landlord, especially as he specialises in home improvements for a living, while as an experienced landlord he was ‘well aware of the requirements of HMO licensing’.

Birmingham Magistrates Court agreed with the council that Freeman was putting the lives of his tenants in danger by providing a property with inadequate fire protection, and as a consequence fined the landlord £25,000 and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £170, alongside costs to the council of £2,454.

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