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Landlord fined for operating without a licence

Posted on Tuesday 17 October 2017

A private landlord in Gateshead has been left more than £3,600 out of pocket after admitting he had been operating two properties without a licence and ignoring his responsibilities as a licensed landlord.

John Jobey, of Lobley Hill in Gateshead, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the licence conditions for two rented properties, of operating a further two properties without a licence, and of failing to declare information in relation to a recent conviction.

Mr Jobey has owned two rented properties in the Swalwell area where a selective licensing scheme is operating. By law, any landlord wishing to rent out property within a selective landlord licensing scheme area has to obtain a licence from their local council. The scheme ensures that only fit and proper landlords can rent out their properties in these areas.

Two of Mr Jobey’s properties in Napier Road, Swalwell had been licensed for some time, but Gateshead Council discovered that he was failing to obtain references for his tenants or producing tenancy agreements as required by law.

In addition, he had failed to obtain licences for a further two properties in Axwell Terrace, Swalwell area, and had failed to declare a recent conviction for assault.

Yesterday (16 October, 2017) at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, Mr Jobey was fined £200 for breaches of his licences, a further £500 for failing to declare a recent conviction, and £1,000 for each of the two properties he operated without a licence. He was also ordered to pay £800 and a £170 victim surcharge.

Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, says:

“The Selective Licensing Scheme is a national scheme aimed at improving residential areas blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour, or where houses are in a poor condition.

“In fact, Gateshead Council campaigned for landlord licensing more than 15 years ago specifically because of the growing problems we were seeing in areas of low demand and high turnover such as Bensham, Sunderland Road and Swalwell. We wanted to ensure that only fit and proper landlords could rent out their properties in these areas and the Selective Licensing Scheme enabled us to do that.

“By failing to carry out the conditions of his licence, and by operating two of his properties without bothering even to apply for a licence, Mr Jobey has demonstrated that he is not a fit and proper landlord. Hopefully, this fine will encourage him to do the right thing in future.”

As well as effectively requiring a landlord to be vetted, Selective Licensing also ensures that rented properties meet certain standards of safety, and that all prospective tenants are vetted. This ensures that housing standards remain high and the tenants do not engage in anti-social behaviour.

Selective licencing schemes are vital in ensuring that declining areas grow and prosper and that unscrupulous landlords do not take advantage of poor and vulnerable individuals.