A managing agent has been hit with a total bill of almost £4,000 and a criminal record after pleading guilty at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court to renting out 12 private sector properties without a compulsory licence.
The Landlord Licensing scheme was introduced by Liverpool City Council in April 2015 with the aim of improving standards in the private rental sector.
A number of properties in Rice Lane in Walton, Milton Road in Anfield and Stockbridge Street in Wavertree rented out by RJM Properties (NW) Ltd first came to the attention of Liverpool City Council in July 2016 following an investigation into unlicensed properties in Liverpool.
Despite reminders which clearly outlined the requirements of the scheme and the consequences of failing to act, it didn’t licence the properties at the time.
Julian Nutter, Barrister for RJM Properties (NW) Ltd, confirmed in mitigation that the managing agent brought up the standards in the properties, which were now fully licensed.
During the sentencing hearing on 13 September, RJM Properties (NW) Ltd were fined £1,800, plus costs of £1,959.54 and a victim surcharge of £130.
District Judge Wendy Lloyd emphasised the importance of the Selective Licensing scheme in Liverpool and it was essential for rental properties to be on Liverpool City Council’s radar.
Judge Lloyd accepted that the properties were now in a good condition and that licences had now been obtained, but noted this had been a ‘drip’ process.
Furthermore, Judge Lloyd considered that the company was a business and therefore had to have a full understanding of the process and take full responsibility.
Councillor Lynnie Hinnigan, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for housing, said: “We have many good private landlords in Liverpool who comply with legal requirements, but we take it very seriously when landlords do not comply with basic minimum standards of property management. It is important we have a level playing field for all landlords in the city.”
To date, almost 45,000 properties have been licensed under the Landlord Licensing scheme in the city, with a further 9,000 unlicensed properties reported.
Since the scheme was launched, the city council has served 1,700 legal notices, brought 118 successful prosecutions, issued 146 cautions and a further 116 formal written warnings. Almost 1,300 cases are currently being considered for prosecution.
Tenants and members of the public can check if a property has the required Landlord Licence at www.liverpool.gov.uk/landlordlicensing, and report unlicensed properties to firstname.lastname@example.org