Huge fine for private landlord over fire safety failures

A record six-figure fine has been imposed on a Birmingham landlord after the city council discovered well over 30 fire safety issues in four properties she let as houses of multiple occupation.

Lelia Amjadi, of Sutton Coldfield, was ordered by Birmingham Magistrates Court to pay a total of £182,315 – made up of an initial £85,000 fine, costs to the council at £22,975, a victim surcharge of £170, and financial compensation to 11 of the tenants totalling £22,000.

Her company, Vertu Capital, was also found guilty of 21 offences relating to two HMO properties and was fined £52,000, plus a victim surcharge of £170.

After the case Robert James, director of housing at Birmingham City Council said:

“We are delighted with the result. 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 the council will use all its enforcement powers to ensure that tenants are protected from rogue landlords who neglect their responsibilities.”

The 35 offences were associated with four properties Ms Amjadi owns in the Selly Oak and Edgbaston areas of Birmingham. They included the failure to obtain houses in multiple occupation licences and breaches under the HMO management regulations. The council became aware that Ms Amjadi’s properties were being let without the appropriate licences in 2016. Numerous complaints were received from occupants and local residents regarding poor property maintenance.

On inspection, 31 breaches of the HMO management regulations were found including missing fire blankets, inadequate or missing fire doors and smoke detectors hanging loose from ceilings.

By Patrick Mooney, editor