A landlord who is a former professional footballer has been ordered to pay back tenants’ Housing Benefit after failing to licence his properties in and around Nottingham.
Dexter Blackstock, who during his early noughties footballing career played for several high-profile clubs including QPR and Nottingham Forest, had been convicted in 2019 of nine offences of failing to licence properties under Nottingham City Council’s selective licensing scheme, failing to licence two properties under its additional licensing scheme and one other offence under the mandatory licensing scheme.
He has now been fined £24,000, along with £1,100 costs and a victim surcharge of £170 following what the council describes as a ‘long and complex case’.
Nottingham city council has subsequently applied for a Rent Repayment Order for the two properties where Housing Benefit had been paid while the properties were unlicensed.
The former high-profile striker must now pay back £8,592 after a First-tier Tribunal agreed to the order.
Both tenants and local authorities can ask a landlord for up to 12 months’ rent or for benefits to be repaid, when a landlord is convicted of operating without a licence.
“Housing Benefit is paid out from the council to support residents in paying their rent,” says Labour Councillor Linda Woodings (pictured), its portfolio holder for planning, housing and heritage.
“Following this conviction, we had to recuperate the money that Mr Blackstock was not entitled to.
“This could have all been avoided if Mr Blackstock licensed his properties or engaged and worked with us. However, when this doesn’t happen, we will always take the strongest action possible to help improve the standards of rented properties.”