An Erdington landlord who endangered the lives of his tenants has been successfully prosecuted by Birmingham City Council.
55-year-old George Lindsay from Erdington himself, was prosecuted and ordered to pay close to £20,000 for breaching housing regulations.
The rogue landlord pleaded guilty for failing to obtain a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence and to 13 breaches of HMO Management Regulations and has been ordered to pay a fine of £19,970.
When issuing the sentence, the district judge commented that Scrooge was a philanthropist compared to Mr Lindsay and confirmed that he would have sent him to prison if his sentencing powers would have allowed him to do so. The district judge also requested that HMRC reviews his financial records.
Birmingham City Council had to work with West Midlands Police to initially gain access to one of the three properties Mr Lindsay owns. However, when Birmingham City Council Officers inspected the house, they were so concerned about the lack of fire precautions they also contacted West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS).
Almost all of the smoke detectors were missing from the house, putting the lives of the 10 people, including four children, who lived there in danger. WMFS oversaw the immediate installation of a working fire alarm system.
Other offences included a failure to license one of his properties, scorched electrical fittings, missing and inadequate fire doors, mattresses blocking fire escape routes and a failure to provide gas and electrical test certificates.
Leaks from a roof into a bedroom occupied by an adult and three children were found at another property while another tenant had no kitchen facilities and was being forced instead to use a halogen heater placed on its side. Officers also found a missing shower head which meant that at least 9 people had to share one bathroom.
Robert James, acting director for neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council said, “In the middle of a national housing crisis it’s absolutely disgraceful that landlords, like Mr Lindsay, are taking advantage of people in this unscrupulous way. When the council is made aware of properties like these, we’ll do all that we can to pursue rogue landlords and to ensure that tenants are kept safe and their rights to decent housing are upheld.
“HMO properties can be a great means to providing affordable housing and we’ll continue to work closely with the landlords who provide a fantastic service. However, we must ensure that standards are upheld so that citizens in Birmingham get the housing which they deserve.”
To report a property you suspect to have breached House in Multiple Occupation standards, please call 0121 303 4009.