First landlord licensing prosecution brought

Kensington Fields

The first prosecution against a landlord who has refused to sign up to Liverpool’s Landlord Licensing scheme has been brought.

Brendan Vance, of The Orchard in Huyton, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court today to failing to commit to the scheme under Part Three of the Housing Act 2004. He had ignored numerous letters from the city council about his property on Onslow Road in Kensington.

He was fined £1,500 – reduced to £1,000 due to his guilty plea, ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of £734.56 and a victim surcharge of £100.

Liverpool’s Landlord Licensing Scheme came into force last year 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.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We have given landlords ample time to sign up to the scheme and we are now taking action against those who are ignoring the law.

“We are serious and determined about improving housing and housing management standards in the city, and the vast majority of the landlords in the city are complying. Unfortunately, we have some who have refused to engage with us and think they are above complying with the scheme.

“The level of today’s fine shows that the courts take this issue extremely seriously and are willing to hit landlords hard in the pocket. Mr Vance is facing a bill of more than £1,800 instead of the £400 it would’ve cost him for a licence.

“This is just the first of dozens of cases that we are bringing to court, and our message to landlords is that if you don’t engage with us you will face a big bill in court.”

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.