Landlords fined after appearing in court

Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.

The director of a property management company has been prosecuted for failing to properly licence a house in Burnley.

The cases against Nick Turner, the director of North West Housing Partnership Limited, and the company itself, were brought by Burnley Council and heard at Burnley Magistrates’ Court.

The property in Baker Street was the subject of a previous prosecution by the council who took action against its landlord in December 2015.

Turner pleaded guilty, individually and on behalf of the company, to two counts of being in control of a house which was required to be licensed under the Housing Act 2004 but which was not so licensed.

He was given a nine-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £327 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The court was told that the property involved is the Trinity area. The council had introduced selective licensing in the area as a way of tackling poor management of private rented properties. Under the scheme houses within designated areas are required to be licensed.

Checks by council officers found the property relating to the prosecution had been tenanted since January 2006. The court was told that the managing agent was Rachel Homes Lettings and Property Management, a trading name for North West Housing Partnership Limited, of which Turner was the sole director.

Turner was contacted several times by the council, informing him that the property needed to be licensed and that an application had to be made. Despite that no application had been made as of November last year.

Clare Jackson, the council’s private sector housing manager, said: “We’re very pleased with the outcome of this prosecution. It shows that property management and letting agencies managing houses within a selective licensing designation area without a licence are committing an offence and are not immune to prosecution.

“The council works with private landlords to ensure that properties are properly licensed and meet the required standards. Unfortunately, in this case, the managing agent didn’t apply for a licence despite being sent letters and even attending a council-run training day which set out the requirement to licence properties within a selective area.”

In a separate case a private landlord was ordered to pay more than £5,000 after admitting to six offences of failing to properly licence houses in Burnley.

Christopher Gorton, of Hargrove Avenue, Burnley, was prosecuted by Burnley Council for contravening the Housing Act 2004.

Burnley Magistrates’ court was told that Gorton failed to licence properties in Pritchard Street, Nairne Street, Woodbine Road, Briercliffe Road, and two addresses in Penistone Street – six in total. All were in selective licensing areas.

Gorton was fined £450 and ordered to pay £4,008 compensation for lost licence fees, £478.25 costs and a £45 victim surcharge.

The court was told that, despite several reminders, Gorton failed to properly apply to the council for licences for any of the properties. In some cases incomplete applications forms were received by the council but Gorton failed to provide full and complete details.