Oldham Council has warned that unlicensed landlords will be prosecuted after it took another three landlords to court for failing to sign up to the Selective Licensing scheme – this is the local authority’s drive to improve the local management of rented properties, and to “flush out” rogue landlords and irresponsible tenants.
The council warning for private landlords comes as they mount a purge on rogue landlords in the town that have not complied with the requirements of the Selective Licensing scheme. “They too could end up in the dock” if they fail to obtain licences for the properties they rent out.
The Council stress that it’s a criminal offence to operate a privately rented property without a licence in St Mary’s; Hathershaw; Waterhead; Hollinwood; Primrose Bank and selected areas of Coldhurst, Alexandra and Oldham Edge. Landlords not complying, as well as a stiff fine, could end up with a criminal record.
The Selective Licensing scheme which has proved controversial in Oldham, as in other towns and cities throughout England and Wales, after some landlords protested against paying the £490 per rented property fee. Instead they have argued, more should be done to protect the landlord from nuisance tenants, who don’t pay their rent on time.
A petition was signed by 150 Oldham landlords and was handed to the Council, but the authority is insisting that the Oldham scheme is helping to improve residential rental property management and tenant behaviour.
These are the first Oldham landlords to be fined under the scheme:
- Rehana Aziz, of Darwin Street, Oldham, was fined £250 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £22 and £500 costs.
- Rafit Hussain, of Waterloo Street, Oldham, was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £750 and a victim surcharge of £50.
- Kamal Ahmed, of Waterloo Street, Oldham, was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £750 and a victim surcharge of £50.
These first three landlords to be prosecuted by Oldham magistrates in May and July were fined a total of £3,372 in fines, and costs and victim surcharges after they continued to rent out their properties without licences.
All of them had ignored warning letters from the council telling them that they needed to register for the scheme.
Councillor Barbara Brownridge, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and co-operatives, told the Oldham Chronicle:
“The majority of private landlords in the areas where licensing is in force are supportive of this scheme because they, like us, know the rented sector in Oldham needs to improve.
“But we are still coming across a small number who think the law doesn’t apply to them. These latest prosecutions show that we will take action against landlords who flout the law.
“Some of the properties our officers have visited fail to meet the required homes standard, which can have a terrible impact on the health and welfare of tenants and the wider community.
“This scheme aims to make private landlords meet satisfactory standards of tenancy and property management.
“But it is also about tenants acting responsibly in a way that does not blight their neighbourhood and showing respect for their neighbours.”
The Housing Act 2004 gives councils the power to introduce the licensing of private rented homes. Rogue landlords can be banned from renting homes under new rules brought in by the Government’s Housing and Planning Act 2016. New legislation also includes plans for the creation of database of criminal landlords and agents – as well as powers to impose civil penalties of up to £30,000. Read more here
Oldham Council warns unlicensed landlords https://t.co/3EWLvZJOGu
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) August 12, 2016