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Landlord Hit with £12k Fine for Refusing to Licence Flats

Landlord Hit with £12k Fine for Refusing to Licence Flats


A landlord has been prosecuted and ordered to pay a £12,000 fine as well as over £12,000 in court costs, after he was found guilty of not licensing three flats that he was renting privately in Waltham Forest.


Elston Tuitt, 62, of Watermint Quay, N16, was found guilty after being prosecuted by Waltham Forest Council for refusing to obtain licences for three rented flats in a single block on Leyton Park Road, E10.


Since March 2015 the Council has operated a Private Rented Property Licensing (PRPL) scheme, which means private landlords must have a licence in place for each individual property that they rent out in the borough, unless an exemption applies. Landlords who refuse to licence their properties face prosecution.


The Council is actively enforcing the scheme and is carrying out a programme of action days across the borough to improve conditions and identify properties that may require a licence.


The three flats being rented out by Mr Tuitt were identified by officers during an action day in January 2016, and a court summons was subsequently issued for failure to licence.


At first Mr Tuitt entered an ‘abuse of process’ application against the Council’s decision to prosecute, which was rejected. The case was then heard at Thames Magistrates Court on Friday 11 November, where Mr Tuitt’s counsel argued that each flat should not have to be licensed separately, and only one licence should be required for the whole building. The Judge dismissed this argument, supporting the Council’s requirement for all individual properties to be licensed.


The Judge ordered Mr Tuitt to pay a fine of £12,000 (£4,000 per offence) and full prosecution costs including the abuse of process application, totalling £12,652.93, plus a £120 victim surcharge. This brought the full financial penalty to £24,772.93.


Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “We are pleased that the Judge ruled in our favour and agreed that rented properties should be licensed separately. The majority of responsible landlords in the borough have responded well to the scheme, and we will continue to take action against anyone who thinks they can avoid obtaining a licence for their property.”


 “The use of licensing is helping us to drive up standards in the private rented sector and reduce anti-social behaviour across the borough.”


Waltham Forest Council has issued over 19,300 licences to landlords since the launch of the PRPL scheme. Since February 2016 over 40 landlords have been prosecuted for failing to licence their rented property, or for breaching licence conditions. For more information on PRPL visit www.walthamforest.gov.uk/PRPL.



 

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