Unlicensed landlord fined nearly £12,500

An unlicensed landlord has been fined £12,422 for renting out properties that posed a risk to the health of his tenants.

Yesterday (Tuesday 20 August), Barry Matthews from Moss Nook in Burscough, pleaded guilty to operating seven unlicensed properties.

As part of an investigation by the Landlord Licensing Team, one of the properties, located in Orrell Park, was found to be in a poor state of repair.

The tenant and her children were having to live with a leaking boiler, mould throughout the property and a rear door which didn’t close properly and was allowing water inside.

This was not the first time Mr Matthews had been investigated, and in May 2018 he was contacted by the Landlord Licensing Team and was prompted to license four of his properties, which he did. However he neglected to license the remaining seven which led to yesterday’s prosecution.

He was fined £1,500 for each property and ordered to pay the council costs of £1,772.80 along with £150 compensation.

Liverpool’s Landlord Licensing Scheme came into force in 2015, 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.

During the sentencing, District Judge Andrew Shaw, said: “This isn’t a case of a rogue landlord but a landlord who is not up to speed.”

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Lynnie Hinnigan said “The failure of Mr Matthews to work with us has now cost him nearly five times the amount he would have paid for the licenses in the first place.

“It’s now been four years since the Landlord Licensing scheme was introduced in Liverpool and it is disappointing that the team still needs to investigate unlicensed properties.

“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 willfully ignoring the law.

“This case shows that the council will continue to take robust enforcement against those landlords who think they do not need to comply.”