Shared House Was Worst Housing Officers Had Seen in a Decade

Landlord David Green owns the worst letting property housing officers have seen in Birmingham for a decade. 

Inspecting his four-storey shared house split into 10 flats, they recorded a catalogue of shameful breaches of fire, health and safety rules. 

The home had broken, boarded-up windows and tenants had no hot water or heating. 

They saw smoke detectors hanging by wires from ceilings, blocked emergency exits and badly fitting fire doors. Neither the front nor back doors had locks and were in such a state that the house was open to the weather. 

Greene, 64, was fined £35,000 with £2,111 costs after admitting several house in multiple occupation management offences in Birmingham Magistrates Court. 

Lawyers for Birmingham City Council explained that housing officers spoke to Greene regularly to demand he repair the property to no avail. 

Greene claimed he could not do some repairs because tenants would not let him into their flats. 

Councillor Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council, said:

“Mr Greene has shown a callous disregard for his responsibilities as a landlord. This fine sends out a message to all landlords who ignore the law.”

Illegal eviction fine

In a separate case, directors of a property investment company were fined a total of £10,865 for illegally evicting a tenant from a shared house in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. 

Magistrates at Beverley heard that the unnamed tenant was given a week’s notice to leave but stayed in the home. 

A few days later, he returned to the flats and found directors Tracy Hollwarth and Barrie Craven, along with Fiddler Investment Ltd regional manager Sheridan Brown had changed the locks and removed his belongings. 

Chris Dunnachie, private sector housing and safety manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said

“The council has a duty to protect tenants to make sure they are safe from illegal evictions. 

"Some landlords fail to accept that, despite being their property, each and every room or flat within that property is a person’s home and they have no right of entry without the tenant’s agreement, and must follow clear legal procedures to ensure their tenants are given appropriate notice to leave.”

View Related Handbook Page

Fire Safety

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (known as the FSO) introduced duties regarding fire safety in the common areas of HMOs, flats and maisonettes. The task is placed on the responsible person, who must carry out a fire risk assessment and take specific action to minimise fire risk in the common parts. Section 1 of the Fire Safety Act 2021 commenced in Wales on 1 October 2021.

Unlawful Eviction and Harassment

The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 makes it a criminal offence for any person to unlawfully deprive a 'residential occupier' of their occupation of the premises. Unless the tenant agrees to vacate, the only legal way a landlord can evict a tenant (including a contract-holder) is by obtaining a court order. Any term in the contract that says otherwise will be void.