Landlords warned to comply

In areas where selective licensing is applied, all landlords are required to hold a licence in order to rent out a property.  To qualify for a licence, which typically costs between £400 and £600 over a five year period, a landlord must be able to demonstrate that they are acting within the law and taking adequate steps to manage their properties professionally and keep in good order.

Conditions of the licence include issues such as fire, gas and electrical safety, obtaining appropriate references prior to any tenancy being offered, keeping properties visually respectable and ensuring that properties are well managed.

It is a criminal offence to operate a privately rented property without a licence and any breach of a licence condition could lead, on conviction, to a fine of up to £5000.

Stephen Parry, Commercial Director at Landlord Assist says: “We are aware of a recent case in Leeds involving a licensed landlord who accepted false references from his tenants. As a result the landlord was prosecuted for breaching the conditions of the Selective Licensing scheme and ordered to pay a £1000 fine plus almost £2500 in costs. The high fines handed to the landlord should act as a reminder to landlords that legal duties associated with Selective Licences must be met."

Graham Kinnear, Managing Director at Landlord Assist says: “Local Authorities are, in increasing numbers, introducing Selective Licensing areas as a result of the permissions given to them by the 2004 Housing Act to improve conditions of rented properties in selected areas.

“We urge landlords in areas of selective licensing to take their responsibilities seriously, ensure they adhere to the conditions and don’t take any shortcuts.”

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