Property firm fined for not licensing rented houses

A property management company is facing a bill of £9,500 after admitting failing to license nine properties under Liverpool City Council’s Landlord Licensing scheme.

HLC Property Management Limited of 169 Rose Lane, Liverpool, was in breach of Section 95(1) of the Housing Act 2004.

During the sentencing hearing on Thursday 28 November at Liverpool Magistrates Court, District Judge Andrew Shaw heard how the properties, located across the city, had remained unlicensed for substantial periods of time, meaning 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 Shaw said the company had ‘failed’ in its duty and fined them £8,000, plus costs of £1,361.48 and a victim surcharge of £170.

The conviction is the latest in a string of successful prosecutions brought by the Landlord Licensing department, with four so far this month alone.

The 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 per cent 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 unlicensed.landlord@Liverpool.gov.uk.

A bid to renew the scheme for another five years from April 2020 has been submitted to the Government.

Reaction:

Liverpool City Council’s Assistant Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Sam Gorst, said: “The landlord licensing scheme has been hugely important in improving 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.

“A large proportion of landlords have willingly signed up for the scheme and are working positively with us, which is why it is not fair on them that some are 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.”