Two private landlords have been ordered to pay a total of almost £1,800 by magistrates for failing to apply for a licence within a selective licensing area in Stoke-on-Trent.
Sarah Machin, of Windermere Street, Cobridge, was fined £1,016.91 for not licensing her rental property at 49 Windermere Street.
She failed to attend the hearing at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court and was found guilty in her absence.
A second landlord, Mohammed Ashraf, of 52 Winifred Street, pleaded guilty to failing to apply for a licence for his rental property at 72 Denbigh Street, Hanley. He was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £755.48.
Selective licensing is a tool provided by the Housing Act 2004. Its aim is to help local authorities tackle a number of issues including poor property conditions, low housing demand, crime and deprivation – resulting in a positive impact on residents and the wider community.
Stoke-on-Trent currently has schemes in Fenton and Hanley, and the city council is seeking approval to roll out selective licensing to 14 new areas.
Councillor Randy Conteh, the city council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “We are committed to improving housing conditions across the city. We want everyone to have a safe and secure home, and selective licensing is just one of the ways in which we can try to achieve this.
“Poor housing conditions and management practices have a negative effect on the occupiers, especially children. In the past 18 months we have received more than 325 reports from vulnerable residents about harassment and illegal evictions, and over 1,200 complaints about property conditions across the city in the past two years.
“This is why we introduced selective licensing in areas that have high levels of private rented accommodation and experience poor property conditions and management practices as well as other issues – and why we want to roll it out further.
“Landlords who own property in selective licensing areas must apply for a licence – and face prosecution if they fail to do so.”
Health and safety risks in the home are assessed using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System by the council’s private sector housing team. Anyone who has a problem with disrepair in their private rented property can contact the team on 01782 232087.
The Landlord Accreditation Scheme North Staffordshire provides advice to its members to improve the physical and management standards in the private rented sector. Further information about the scheme can be found at www.landlordaccreditation.co.uk or by contacting 01782 232271.