Local landlord faces £22k bill for operating unlicensed properties
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A landlord has been hit with a total bill of over £22,000 after being found guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court for managing 25 properties without a compulsory licence.
The licensing scheme for private landlords was introduced by Liverpool City Council in April 2015 with the aim of improving the private rental sector.
Joseph Doyle, of Gorse Hey Court, Queens Drive, failed to appear in court during December 2017 and was found guilty of failing to licence the property in accordance with the scheme in his absence.
During the sentencing hearing on 22 February, Mr Doyle was fined £18,750 plus costs of £3,444.75 and a victim surcharge of £120.
A number of properties owned by Joseph Doyle first came to the attention of Liverpool City Council during early 2016, none of which had been licensed but were believed to be tenanted. Despite receiving in excess of 25 reminders, he still failed to act.
David Woods, Solicitor for Mr Doyle, confirmed in mitigation that licensing of his properties had gone largely unattended by Mr Doyle due to his personal circumstances.
During sentencing, District Judge Shaw stated that the court process had involved a number of hearings since September 2017 and the offending period had taken place over a long period of time.
District Judge Shaw also noted that many of his tenants were long-standing and happy in Mr Doyle’s properties, but that Liverpool City Council had tried hard to liaise with Mr Doyle and that his personal circumstances did not excuse his failure to licence.
Cllr Frank Hont, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We have many good private landlords in Liverpool but we take it very seriously when they do not comply with their duties.
“We will continue to work hard on behalf of those tenants who find themselves in sub-standard accommodation, taking landlords to task when they flagrantly breach the law.
“The message from the courts is clear: if you are a private landlord you need a landlord licence, otherwise it will cost you dear.”
More than 41,000 homes have been licensed as part of Liverpool’s scheme but another 6,500 have been reported as unlicensed by tenants and stakeholders.
Tenants can report issues of disrepair in private rented properties that have not been dealt with by their landlord to firstname.lastname@example.org and check if a property has the required licence at www.liverpool.gov.uk/landlordlicensing