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Landlord fined £36,000 by court after fire reveals his property wasn't licenced

A landlord in the North West has been handed a £36,000 fine after a fire at his property revealed it had not been licenced.

The local council, Sefton, was alerted to his lack of licence after a fire in December 2022 gutted the  property (pictured).

Council investigators discovered that the house did not feature smoke alarms and that the landlord, who has not been named, had failed repeatedly to obtain a licence between 2018 and the date of the fire.

Sefton has for several years operated both a selective licencing scheme and an additional licencing scheme for HMOs, and a new selective scheme started in March this year – with landlords given until the end of this month to comply or face fines.

During sentencing, the magistrates said a reckless failure to apply for licensing over several years made the landlord ‘highly culpable’.

Smoke detectors

They also said that if the property had been licensed, there was a greater chance that safety issues such as a complete lack of smoke detectors would have been dealt with.

Councillor Trish Hardy (pictured), Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing says: “This is a positive result for the council and acts as a reminder to landlords that failing to obtain a licence under our Selective and Additional (HMO) Licensing schemes can be very costly.

“Specific areas of the Borough are covered by our Selective Licensing Scheme and two Additional (HMO) Licensing Schemes, and any landlords affected need to apply for licence by the end of August, or face enforcement by court action or a Civil Penalty fine.

“In most cases, we can work with landlords to resolve the situations informally, but as this recent case has shown, the Licensing schemes do give us additional powers for formal enforcement action, which we are fully prepared to use.” 

Read more about licencing.


Hmo fines