Four Lincolnshire property investment landlords have been forced to pay £232,155 between them after being the first cohort to fall foul of a council crackdown on unlicensed rental properties.
The landlords are facing the sanctions after failing to obtain the licensing required under the new selective licensing regime in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, which came into effect in Jul 2016. All landlords in the area need to obtain a licence for the council, which will require investors to maintain their properties in accordance with certain conditions. The aim behind the scheme is to improve property standards in the town and keep a monitor on anti-social behaviour.
The four Lincolnshire landlords became the first to be penalised under the scheme, with the harsh fines dished out at Lincoln Magistrates Court. The largest fine was handed to landlord Jagdish Singh, 69 of Southernhay Road, Leicester. He pleaded guilty to the failure to license eight of his properties, and was ordered to pay £13,500 per offence. This is believed to be the largest fine handed to a landlord on a single date in the country for renting out properties without the correct licence.
Singh also pleaded guilty to three offences relating to the failure to comply with improvement notice and was fined a further £4,500 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of £2,000. The other three defendants jointly own several of the unlicensed properties with Singh. West Lindsey District Council was also successful in issuing Criminal Behaviour Orders on all the defendants. This means there are now conditions in place on all properties in the district owned by those found guilty for ten years.
Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at the council, Councilor Sheila Bibb, said: ‘The courts have made it very clear in these prosecutions – that landlords will face tough fines and restrictions if they do not comply with the scheme. The private rented sector is the only option available for some of the most vulnerable people in our area and this action sends a clear message that the council wishes to work with good landlords to improve this sector and identify the poor or criminal landlords. While we will try to help landlords through the licensing process, those who simply ignore their statutory obligations will be prosecuted. We are currently investigating other landlords for operating unlicensed within the area and further prosecutions will follow.’