penalty fine

22 Aug 23

A London council is telling landlords that if they don’t apply for a licence in the next nine days they face unlimited fines.

A statement says Newham landlords have until the end of August to apply for a mandatory Selective Licence “or risk an unlimited fine or having control of properties taken away.”

The latest Selective Licensing scheme started on June 1 and the Labour council now says it will be stepping up its inspection and enforcement visits throughout September “to find and take action against unlicensed properties.”

Landlords without licenses can face a financial penalty notice of up to £30,000 or an unlimited fine from the court. And the council adds: “They could also have control of properties removed and be ordered to repay up to 12 months’ rent to the Council or their tenants.”

A council spokesperson says: “Renters in Newham deserve to live in safe, well-managed and well-maintained homes, and that’s what our pioneering Selective Licensing scheme aims to ensure.

“I’m grateful to the majority of our landlords who have successfully applied for a license, and call on those who still need to apply to take action now.

“Our teams will be out and about in September to check for unlicensed properties, so I encourage anyone without a license to get their application in without delay.”

Newham’s last licensing scheme, which expired at the end of February 2023, saw 42,000 properties licensed – of which 70 per cent were subject to officer visits or audits.

From 2018 until July 2023, more than 2,620 breach of licence investigations were conducted and 387 financial penalty final notices were issued, with fines between £5,000 and £30,000.

A total of 6,447 enforcement letters were sent.

The lengthy council statement continues: “Selective Licensing is the only proactive legal tool for councils to visit and check that privately rented properties are well managed. 

“Newham uses it to help improve housing repair standards and fire precautions, tackle anti-social behaviour and keep residents safe, as well as ensuring that responsible landlords receive support and are not undercut by unscrupulous landlords.”

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