A landlord who refused to sign up to Liverpool’s Landlord Licensing scheme, despite a legal notice being served, has been fined.
James Bennett, of Withycombe Road in Warrington, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrate’s Court to renting out an unlicensed property in Hawkesworth Street, Anfield. The defendant also pleaded guilty to a second charge of not providing the city council with information about the house, despite numerous communications from the council and finally a legal notice served on him.
He has been fined £800 for operating an unlicensed property, £200 for failing to comply with a legal notice and a further £80 victim surcharge. Mr Bennett has also been ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of £625.91. District Judge Lloyd made clear during sentencing that the commission of both offences was a serious matter and that the licensing of private rented properties within Liverpool was a matter of safety.
Liverpool’s Landlord Licensing Scheme came into force in 2015 with the aim of driving up standards in the private rented sector, and action is now being taken against those who are still refusing to sign up.
Landlords have to meet a variety of conditions around fire, electric and gas safety rectifying disrepair issues, tackling pest infestations, keeping the exterior in a good state of repair and dealing with complaints about anti-social behaviour caused by tenants.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Frank Hont, stated “As a city council we are determined and committed to bringing non-compliant landlords to task and will take action against those who ignore the law.
“This not only raises the standards for tenants but creates a level playing field for those compliant landlords in our city. If Mr Bennett had licensed his property as required he wouldn’t now be faced with a £1700 fine.
“This is a real partnership approach and we are working closely with other council departments which hold information relating to rental properties, and this approach ensures we can, and will, identify and take action against landlords with unlicensed properties.”
Almost 8,000 landlords responsible for more than 44,000 properties are already engaged with the Landlord Licensing scheme.
Current and prospective tenants can access a database at www.liverpool.gov.uk/landlordlicensing to see if their landlord is on the database.
Landlord licensing has the backing of campaign groups including Shelter and Generation Rent.