23 Feb 2021
A landlord who failed to licence his properties has been ordered to pay back over £8,000 in rent.
Dexter Blackstock, a former professional footballer, has been told he has to refund £8,592.98 in housing benefit that he was paid for two unlicensed properties.
Blackstock was previously convicted of nine offences of failing to licence properties under Nottingham council’s Selective Licensing scheme and failing to licence two properties under the Additional Licensing scheme, plus one other offence under the Mandatory Licensing scheme. He was fined £24,000, £1,100 costs and a victim surcharge of £170 by the court in October 2019.
Following the prosecution, Nottingham council applied for a Rent Repayment Order for two properties where Housing Benefits had been paid during the period the properties were unlicensed. The First-tier Property Chamber (Residential Property) has now made a decision to make a Rent Repayment Order of £8,592.98.
A Rent Repayment Orders is where a tenant or local authority can ask a landlord for up to 12 months of Rent, Housing Benefit, or Universal Credit to be repaid after a landlord has been convicted of the offence of operating a licensed property without a licence.
Councillor Linda Woodings of Nottingham council says: “This has been a long and complex case for our Safer Housing team, from investigations to prosecution and finishing with this great result on the Rent Repayment Order.
“Housing Benefit is paid out from the council to support residents in paying their rent. 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.”