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District Judge Compares Rogue Landlord to Scrooge

A district judge has slammed a rogue landlord for his crimes against tenants. In his ruling, the judge told the court that the landlord, George Lindsay from Birmingham, was worse than Scrooge and he wished he had the powers to send him to jail. Sadly, he didn’t, so he was fined £19,970 instead…

Lindsay has been a landlord for 20 years. He owns three rental properties, all of which are set up as HMOs. When complaints were made, council officers gained access to one of them and discovered a catalogue of horrors.

A Nightmare Before Christmas

Fire doors were inadequate, fire escapes were blocked by appliances, and gas and electrical safety certificates had not been provided. In addition, some of the electrical fittings were scorched, which suggested serious deficiencies with the circuits in the property. The council housing inspectors were so worried about the lack of fire safety in the property, they asked officers from the West Midlands Fire Service to take a look.

Following the inspection of the first property, housing officers swiftly moved on to Lindsay’s other properties, which were not much better. One had a serious leak in the roof, which allowed water into a bedroom shared by one adult and three children.

In another property, a tenant was forced to cook using a halogen heater and nine people had to share one bathroom, with the bath taped up to stop water leaking out. Rubbish had piled up in the gardens, no doubt providing a haven for the local rat population. In addition, Lindsay hadn’t applied for HMO licences for any of his properties, despite repeated attempts to get him to engage with the local council following a previous conviction in 2010 for failing to obtain a landlord licence.

An Absolute Disgrace

“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,” said Robert James from Birmingham City Council.

“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.”

Birmingham City Council says it will “continue to work closely with the landlords who provide a fantastic service” in a bid to improve housing standards in the private rental sector.

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