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Landlords must update their home address or face fines, says judge

newcasltle licencing

Landlords need to update their home address with their local  council’s property licensing department or risk a penalty, an appeal judge has ruled.

Mahmoud Abdallah was fined £654 by Newcastle Council when he didn’t reply to a letter asking him to provide licensing condition information, which was sent to his old address.

The landlord had licensed his rental property in Gillies Street (pictured), in January 2017, and gave his address as Primrose Lane, Sleaford.

The licence condition required him to inform the council’s licensing team within 10 working days of any changes, including a change of address.

Abdallah moved to Cheviot Close in Sleaford in June 2017 but did not notify the council’s licensing team, or anyone else at the council, despite emailing them in relation to another matter, to which he received no response.

In February 2018 he completed an online notification informing the council of the identity of new tenants of the flat and included his new address.

In 2021 the council asked all landlords to provide information referred to in various licence conditions, addressed to him at Primrose Lane.

He first became aware of the request in December 2022 after it checked his home address with the council tax department.

Comply with

The first tier tribunal had originally ruled that the council’s demand for information was not sent to Abdallah’s last known address and therefore not a demand that he was required to comply with.

However, Martin Rodger KC said: “The licensing team satisfied the requirement of due diligence by looking no further than the licence application, which gave the applicant’s address at the time he made the application…he was under a duty to report his change of address to the licensing team and had not done so.”

He added that it was up to the council to decide whether to remit the case back to tribunal to consider the landlord’s defence of reasonable excuse.

Read the judgement in full.