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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2016-11-10

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page

 

Landlords fined for breaching Selective Licensing rules

OVER the last few weeks of December 2016, Wirral Council, have successfully prosecuted a number of landlords and agents for failing to apply for a license to rent their property in one of Wirral's 4 Selective Licensing areas.

The latest landlord to go before the Courts was Nigel Russell of Duddon near Tarporley who was found guilty of 3 offences.

Mr Russell's companies own a large number of privately rented properties on the Wirral and Liverpool. Amongst his large residential and commercial property portfolio 1 of his companies own The Richmond Hotel and Spa, which is located in Liverpool City Centre.

On conclusion of a two day trial last week Mr Russell was found guilty by Liverpool Magistrates Court for being in control of an unlicensed property, providing false and misleading information and not producing certain documents. He was ordered to pay £37,120 in fines and costs.

The Selective Licensing Scheme was introduced in Wirral, on 1 July 2015 and so far 1,270 properties have been licensed, which represents over 99% of known licensable properties. It covers four areas; Egremont North, Egremont Promenade South, Seacombe Library and Birkenhead South.

Cllr George Davies, Wirral Council Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety, said:- "The majority of landlords understand that the objectives of the scheme are to improve poor property conditions and management standards in the private rented sector. Licences holders are required to show basic safety checks have been carried out and that they have appropriate management arrangements in place. In return, the Council is investing significantly in these areas, including improving the energy efficiency of homes, bringing empty properties back into use in these areas and providing tenancy support for vulnerable tenants."

A very small number of landlords, however, are still prepared to flout the law. ADR Property Management Limited and its company director Mr Adrian Terry, were the first to be prosecuted for failing to obtain a number of licences for various properties in Birkenhead and Tranmere.

Mr Terry, who has appeared on the popular daytime television programme:- 'Homes Under The Hammer', pleaded guilty to a total of 12 licensing and Housing Act offences at Wirral Magistrates Court, on 23 November 2016.

On 8 December 2016 Andrews Estates and its director Mr Andrew Smith, who has offices throughout the Wirral, pleaded guilty to licensing and other Housing Act offences. Both Andrews Estates and its director were ordered to pay £8,650 in fines and costs by Wirral Magistrates Court.

Earlier this week Mr Michael Hammon, of Neston also pleaded guilty to being in control of or managing an unlicensed privately rented house located within one of Wirral Council's designated licensing areas and to failing to produce certain documents. As a result, Mr Hammon was ordered by the Court to pay £3,920 in fines and costs.

Cllr Davies added:- "I am absolutely delighted with the outcome of the Court decisions in all of the cases the Council has recently took to Court. This reinforces the message that landlords must obtain a license for managing a rented property in these areas. Landlords have had a period of grace in which to make their applications and the overwhelming majority of landlords and agents operating in these areas have shown that they want to work with the Council to improve standards. A small minority, like Mr Russell, Mr Terry, Mr Smith and Mr Hammon have had to face the consequences of their actions. Despite these successful prosecutions the Selective Licensing Team will continue to investigate and prosecute owners and managing agents of privately rented accommodation who attempt to evade their responsibility in applying for the necessary licences and meet minimum letting standards. The Selective Licensing Scheme has enabled the Council to start undertaking compliance checks on these properties to ensure that they meet a reasonable standard and comply with license conditions in order that the health and safety of often vulnerable tenants are protected."

 

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