March 2016, Case summary by Phil Turtle Landlord Licensing and Defence

By ignoring Selective Licensing, this landlord lost £13,000 and gained a criminal record.

Local Authority, the London Borough of Newham (LA), applied for and won a Rent Repayment Order against Ms P. relating to a property in Malvern Road, East Ham, London E6.

The Local Authority has introduced a Selective Licensing scheme three years earlier, in January 2013. Being swift off the mark, the Local Authority wrote to the Landlord in September 2013 telling her of her responsibility to apply for a licence. They wrote again in late September.

Seemingly ignored by the Landlord, on 31st October a Council Officer was despatched to the property and spoke with the Tenant.

Still being ignored by the Landlord, one surmises, the Local Authority issued her with a “Notice of intended prosecution” in January 2014. Finally the Landlord woke up to the reality of her misdemeanour and signed a legal “Caution” (giving her a criminal record) and finally in February made a Selective Licence application. Using a cheque that bounced!

After a further “Notice of intended prosecution” in December 2014, Ms P. was hauled into court in September 2015 and fined £4,220 including costs.

The Local Authority also gave her notice of its intention to make an application for a Rent Repayment Order in relation to Housing Benefit it had given to the tenant in relation to the tenancy at Ms P.’s property and which was the subject of the First Tier tribunal case.

Not surprisingly given the forgoing, particularly said the Judge, “the failure of Ms P. to engage with the Local Authority relating to Selective Licensing”  the Tribunal foud in favour of the Local Authority (Housing Benefits) and gave them back one years’ rent.

Whether or not landlords like the idea of Selective Licensing, and many would consider it just another tax, it is not optional. This landlord’s recalcitrance has cost her over £13,000 and given her a criminal record.

You can read the full First Tier Tribunal decision (if you like wading through legal stuff) here