First successful prosecutions for landlords flouting selective licensing rules

Business / 17 Aug 2017

Four Peterborough landlords have been fined more than £400 each for pleading guilty to operating a property without a selective licence.

On 9 August 2017 Peterborough Magistrates' Court fined Mrs Shazia Parveen of Norton Road, Peterborough, £440 and ordered her to pay a victim surcharge of £44 plus the council’s costs.

Yesterday (Wednesday 16 August 2017) Sarah Jane Gratton and Dean Anthony Gratton of Berkeley Square, London,  were found guilty of not licensing a property in Wildlake, Orton Malborne, and Francesco Semeraro of Stanley Road, Peterborough was found guilty of not licensing a property also in Stanley Road.

This is the first batch of prosecutions of its kind in Peterborough since the selective licensing scheme was introduced on 1 December 2016. The scheme requires residential landlords to obtain a licence in order to let a property to tenants within a designated area. Since its implementation, the SaferPeterborough Prevention and Enforcement Service has received more than 6,500 selective licensing applications.

All of the landlords must now obtain a licence and put suitable management arrangements in place. Each licence will now cost £900, instead of £50 or £600 had they applied when the scheme started. However, if an application is not received the council can put in place a management order and take over the control of the property for up to five years.

Councillor Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities, said: “Landlords who choose to invest in properties in Peterborough must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the law.

“These cases demonstrate that the council will not allow landlords to operate a licensable property without a licence. 

"The selective licensing scheme has been in place for nine months now and we are very pleased with the high number of landlords who have already applied for their licences. We have, however identified properties that we suspect remain unlicensed and will continue to pursue these. If any landlord is unsure whether their property requires a licence they are urged to contact our selective licensing team for advice." 

Adrian Chapman, service director: communities and safety for Peterborough City Council, said: “Every effort is made to work with the landlords of licensable properties and in each of these cases the defendants were given ample opportunity and support to ensure that they could comply with their statutory obligations.

“All landlords, managing agents or tenants within the designated area should obtain advice to ascertain whether their property is affected by the designation by contacting the selective licensing team at the city council.”

The council visited the properties following intelligence that suggested they were being let without a licence. An officer formally requested that the property be registered and provided the owner an opportunity to register within a given timescale. Despite several communications with all landlords they failed to register their properties with the scheme which is an offence under the Housing Act 2004.

The selective licensing scheme covers the following wards: Central, North, East, Park, Fletton, Bretton North, Stanground Central, Walton and Orton Longueville.