News

First landlord prosecuted under Waltham Forest Council’s selective licensing scheme

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - Waltham Forest Council

A landlord has become the first to be prosecuted by Waltham Forest Council for failing to obtain a licence under the council’s borough wide selective licensing scheme.

The selective licensing scheme, known locally as the Private Rented Property Licencing scheme, was introduced in April 2015 as part of the Council’s drive to improve living standards in the private rented sector and reduce anti-social behaviour. Every privately rented home in the borough is now required to have a licence (unless an exemption applies) and comply with certain licence conditions.

Coral Dawkins, 57, failed to obtain a licence for a property on St George’s Road, Leyton, that she had been renting out for the past 11 years. The Council sent warning letters which were not responded to and the property was subsequently visited as part of a Council enforcement day in January 2016, to confirm it was being rented privately. The case was then taken forward for prosecution.

Ms Dawkins appeared at Thames Magistrates Court on Friday 4 March 2016, pleading guilty to the charge for failing to obtain a licence. She was fined £800 for the offence and also ordered to pay court costs of £637.31 and a victim surcharge of £80, making the total financial penalty £1,517.31.

Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, Cabinet Member for Housing said:

This is the first time we have successfully prosecuted a landlord for not licencing a property and it certainly won’t be the last. We’ve worked hard to get the message out since we launched the scheme a year ago, so there is simply no excuse not to have a licence in place by now.

We’ve now had 18,000 applications to the scheme so far, which shows that decent, responsible landlords understand the need to obtain a licence. We will continue our programme of enforcement until every single privately rented home in the borough is signed up to the scheme.

London Property Licensing understands that Waltham Forest Council is now carrying out a programme regular action days across the borough to uncover landlords who are evading their responsibility to obtain a licence.

The council have also announced that on 1 April 2016, the licence application fee will increase by 30% from £500 to £650. With thousands of properties still to be licensed, landlords are being urged to act now to avoid the consequences. Advice and assistance with the licence application process is available from London Property Licensing.   

Further information about property licensing in Waltham Forest is available by visiting www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/waltham-forest, or by visiting the council’s website at www.walthamforest.gov.uk/prpl.

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