Landlord fined over £10k for failing to kerb antisocial behaviour
A landlord has been fined more than £10,000, after failing to tackle antisocial behaviour from their tenants.
In May and October 2015, Gateshead Council’s Private Sector Housing Team received complaints of anti-social behaviour involving the landlord’s tenants from Northumbria Police and a local resident. This included threatening behaviour, noise and criminal damage.
The ongoing behaviour resulted in two residents moving out of their accommodation to escape the effects of the anti-social behaviour. Officers from Gateshead Council informed the landlord of the complaints and provided advice and recommendations on the appropriate action to be taken to deal with the unacceptable behaviour, however no appropriate action was taken to resolve the complaints.
The landlord, who lives in Houghton-le-Spring but has a number of properties in Gateshead and other locations in the North East, pleaded guilty to three charges under The Housing Act 2004. He was fined a total of £10,250 with £600 costs, at Gateshead Magistrates Court; £7,000 for failing to manage the anti-social behaviour effectively, £3,000 for failing to apply for a landlord licence and £250 for failing to remain a member of a landlords association.
Two of the offences related to the landlord’s failure to comply with the conditions of his landlord licence and act as a responsible landlord. The third offence related to failing to obtain a landlord licence for a property on Stephenson Street in Gateshead, for which complaints of refuse and anti-social behaviour involving the tenant were made by residents.
Operating within one of Gateshead Landlord Licensing areas, the Housing Act 2004 gives local authorities pro-active powers to improve neighbourhoods by ensuring that private landlords become more accountable for the managements of their properties and tenants in areas suffering from low housing demand and experiencing high rates of anti-social behaviour.
The Central Bensham scheme began in May 2012 and requires all private landlords operating in the area to be fit and proper and obtain a licence from the Council to operate. Attached to a licence are numerous conditions which a landlord must comply with to ensure the effective management of the property and the tenancy.
District Judge Elsey told the court that ‘these were serious offences and by his failure to deal with the antisocial behaviour, unnecessary alarm and distress had been imposed on innocent victims, who had been driven from their homes’.
Judge Elsey also advised that sentencing was not only necessary for the seriousness of the offences but to also send out a message to other landlords that they must fulfil their legal responsibilities and licensing obligations.
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