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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-20-05

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page

 

Property management firm fined for not having landlord licences

A property management firm has been hit with a bill of more than ₤8,000 for failing to apply for landlord licences at a block of flats in Toxteth.

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.

At Liverpool Magistrates Court, on Thursday, 18 May 2017, Elite Property Management and Lettings Ltd, pleaded guilty to 13 charges of having control of flats, at a tower block, at Mill View, on Rutter Street, without the required licences.

The Court heard that Elite, a professional property management company, were acting on behalf of overseas owners, and were responsible for full management of the flats including finding tenants and collecting rent. The rent was in the form of Housing Benefit which was paid direct to Elite.

The Director of Elite, Darren Sharkey, had been given advice by Liverpool City Council’s landlord licensing team on numerous occasions advising that he would be the most appropriate person to hold the licences but he had failed to make any applications.

In mitigation, Mr Sharkey stated that he thought the licences were the landlords responsibility and that since he had taken over the block in September 2015 he had made considerable improvements to the block and the area, which had previously been subject to Anti Social Behaviour.

Elite were fined a total of ₤8166.97, that was made up of ₤500 for each of the 13 offences, plus the Council’s full costs of ₤1616.97 and a victim surcharge of ₤50.

Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet member for housing, said:- “Licences for privately rented properties are not just the responsibility of the owner of the property. Where a managing agent is actively managing the property, finding tenants, collecting rents and issuing tenancy agreements, under the legislation they are likely to be the most appropriate person to be the licence holder. Agents who manage properties for owners knowing they are unlicensed, therefore put themselves at risk at prosecution.  Our advice is that they should apply for licences or cease management of the properties in these situations. Licensing is key to drive up property management and tenancy management in Liverpool which has a direct impact on our neighbourhoods and communities. We are serious and determined about improving housing and housing management standards in the City, and the vast majority of the landlords in the City are complying. Unfortunately, we have some who have refused to engage with us and think they are above complying with the scheme.”

In a separate hearing, Ian Hall, a landlord of properties in Seymour Road, L14 pleaded guilty to four offences of operating the properties without the required landlord licences contrary to the Housing Act 2004. He was fined ₤500 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of ₤757.73 and a victim surcharge of ₤50.

Around 8,000 landlords responsible for more than 44,000 properties are already engaged with the Landlord Licensing scheme.

Current and prospective tenants can access use an online  database at to see if their landlord is on the database.

Landlord licensing has the backing of campaign groups including Shelter and Generation Rent.

 

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Southport Reporter (R) Bourder


  


 

 

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