A company has been labelled ‘foolish’ and ‘negligent’ by a judge and hit with costs totalling more than £11,000 for failing to license a huge portfolio of properties in Liverpool.
Roach Estates and Property Management Limited of Duke Street in Southport was charged with failing to license 29 properties as part of the city’s Landlord Licensing scheme, and found guilty in its absence in October.
During the sentencing hearing on Thursday 12 December, District Judge Wendy Lloyd heard how the properties, located throughout the city, had remained unlicensed for substantial periods of time, meaning that the council’s role as a regulator in ensuring minimum standards in terms of gas, fire and electrical safety was undermined and had potentially put the tenants at risk.
Judge Lloyd commented that the company’s culpability was ‘high’ and it had acted ‘foolishly’ and ‘negligently’ in failing in its duty to license the properties during the relevant offending periods and left tenants potentially vulnerable to adverse conditions.
They were fined £8,700, plus costs of £2,458.22 and a victim surcharge of £170.
Liverpool’s Landlord Licensing scheme began in 2015 with the aim of improving standards in the private rented sector, and so far 49,000 licences have been issued.
Around 20,000 compliance actions have been carried out, with 70 percent of inspected properties found to be in breach of their licence conditions, more than 2,000 legal and fixed penalty notices have been issued and over 150 landlords prosecuted.
Tenants and members of the public can check if a property has the required Landlord Licence at https://liverpool.gov.uk/landlordlicensing and report unlicensed properties to firstname.lastname@example.org
A bid to renew the scheme for another five years from April 2020 has been submitted to the Government.
Liverpool City Council’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Lynnie Hinnigan, said: “The landlord licensing scheme is vital in delivering better conditions for tenants in privately rented properties and making sure they are not at risk from things such as dangerous electrics, faulty gas appliances or a lack of fire doors.
“The vast majority landlords are working positively with us, but some are still wilfully ignoring the law.
“Where we find evidence that landlords are blatantly ignoring the rules we will take them to court and, as in this case, they risk a hefty fine.”
Pictured: The house painted yellow with a brown door, on Ruskin Street in Kirkdale, was among the 29 unlicensed properties