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Massive £182,000 fine for buy to let investor after string of HMO offences

A buy to let investor has been found guilty of 35 HMO offences – and has to pay a total fine of £182,314.90, thought to be one of the largest penalties ever for an individual landlord.

Leila Amjadi, of Sutton Coldfield, was found guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court of failing to obtain HMO licences and for breaches under the HMO Management Regulations.

The offences were in relation to the four properties she owned across Birmingham.

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 to this, 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.

In 2016, Birmingham council officers became aware that Amjadi’s properties were being let without the appropriate HMO licences.

She 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 officers, 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 commented 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.

Amjadi was also found to have deliberately used delaying tactics when dealing with both her tenants and the council.

A spokesman for the council says: “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”.

Source: Letting Agent Today

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Rogue landlord prosecuted for the second time in six months for HMO offences

An Oxford landlord with a previous conviction for housing offences was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay the City Council £1,535 in costs when he appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 20 March 2018.

The City Council successfully prosecuted Mr Imtiaz Gulzar for the second time in six months for failing to comply with his responsibilities under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) (England) Regulations 2006 at a large HMO on Cowley Road, Oxford.

Mr Gulzar, (41) of Cowley Road, pleaded guilty to:

  • failure to keep his property in good order and repair;
  • failure to ensure that all notices indicating the location of means of escape from fire are displayed in positions within the HMO that enable them to be clearly visible to the occupiers;
  • failure to maintain property in good and clean decorative repair, and
  • failure to maintain property in a safe and working condition

After hearing the facts of the case and considering a written statement of mitigation, as well as a notice of intention to cite a previous conviction, the Court proceeded to fine Mr Gulzar £10,000 and ordered him to pay £1,535 towards the Council’s costs.

In November 2017, Mr Gulzar was prosecuted for failing to comply with the conditions attached to an HMO licence for a property in Iffley Road, Oxford. In that case, he was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,425 in costs.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services, said: “The City Council is committed to ensuring high standards in the private rented sector and protecting tenants against landlords who do not meet their responsibilities under the law. I am pleased that in this second prosecution of Mr Gulzar, the Court imposed a higher fine than in the first case.

“This is one of the last cases to go through the courts as we are now using the new financial penalty powers that came into force in April last year. These powers allow us to issue financial penalties of up to £30,000 for certain housing offences rather than take up cases to the courts for prosecution. On average, we have issued penalties that are nearly four times what the courts used to fine landlords, so we believe the new powers will provide an even greater deterrent against violations of housing regulations by landlords.”

Source: Oxford City Council

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HMO landlord fined for 32 offences at Wolverhampton flats

HMO Wolverhampton

Harbhajan Singh Dhami admitted failing to put right 32 housing offences at a HMO (house in multiple occupation) in Merridale Lane, Wolverhampton.

Fire hazards, electrical issues, damp and a large pile of waste were all found at the property when council inspectors visited in June.

That inspection followed confirmation that no approval had been sought for the conversion of the property to flats, therefore confirming it was a HMO and should be regulated under the HMO regulations.

The property consisted of two sets of flats – 11 flats in total of which seven were being lived in.

Dhami – of Ednam Road, Wolverhampton – and his company Dhami Accommodation Ltd, received fines, charges and costs totalling £33,995, at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court.

District Judge Murray said: “Mr Dhami was a good landlord, with the exception of this property, where the issues of disrepair go back longer than the summons period.

“Mr Dhami blamed the tenants for the damage to the property but accepted that the tenants in the property were vulnerable and therefore the duty of care that he owed to his tenants was much greater.

“From the company accounts provided to the court it was clear that the company had made a substantial profit and the judge had to consider the totality of the offending.

“He said that while Mr Dhami would be given credit for his guilty plea he would be sentenced on the high risk involved.

“It was clear that the property was a high fire risk and that candles were being used at the property which also had loose wiring.

 “The fact that one of the walls was separating from the structure leaving a gap, together with the blocked means of escape, missing banisters, an inoperative fire alarm system and disconnected smoke detectors created a risk of smoke penetration and injury in the event of a fire

“Apart from the fire risk the damp throughout the property posed a risk to health.

“There had been a lack of compliance from Mr Dhami when council officers had required him to correct these problems and a lack of response when he was given the opportunity to do so.”

Councillor Peter Bilson, deputy leader and cabinet member for city assets and housing, said: “We are determined to bring to task landlords who are not complying with housing laws and building regulations.

“Our residents’ health and wellbeing is of paramount importance to us and this case should act as a lesson to all landlords in the private sector.

“Thankfully, the majority of landlords in Wolverhampton abide by the rules and regulations and co-operate with the council.

“The council takes very seriously its commitment to monitoring the private housing sector and we will continue to do so to ensure tenants’ living standards are of the highest quality.”

Source: Express and Star