When the selective licensing scheme of the West Lindsey District Council came into effect in July 2016, Mr. Jagdish Singh wouldn’t have thought that a year down the line he’d go on to become the poster boy of the regulations.
Mr. Singh has been ordered by the Lincoln Magistrate’s Court to pay a total fine of £108,000 for not licensing eight properties of his under the selective licensing scheme. Apart from the £13,500 fine per each of the instance of failure to license, he was also fined £4,500 for each of the three occurrences of ignorance of improvement notices. Further, he is also liable to pay £ 2,000 as costs to the winning side. The £108,000 fine received by Mr. Singh is said to be the highest ever handed out in U.K. to a single landlord for non-compliance of a selective licensing scheme.
All the landlords renting properties in selective licensing areas are supposed to get licenses in accordance with the selective licensing scheme of the area. The three major aims behind selective licensing are improvement of property management standards, maintenance of real estate values in the area and elimination of unacceptable landlord behaviour.
Other than Mr. Singh, the Lincoln Magistrate’s court found three other landlords also guilty of having violated the selective licensing scheme of the West Lindsey District Council. Gurjit Singh, Balbir Kaur, and Harpal Bindra Singh were each fined £ 15,000 for each of the times they failed to comply with the selective licensing scheme. The total fine amount payable by the four defendant landlords amounts to £232,155.68.
Councillor Sheila Bibb who heads the Prosperous Communities Committee of the West Lindsey District Council had the following to say about the Lincoln Magistrate’s court’s verdict:
“The courts have made it very clear in these prosecutions – that landlords will face tough fines and restrictions if they do not comply with the scheme.
The private rented sector is the only option available for some of the most vulnerable people in our area and this action sends a clear message that the council wishes to work with good landlords to improve this sector and identify the poor or criminal landlords.”
Seeing how the court has issued hefty fines for failure to license properties under a selective licensing scheme, it is imperative that all the landlords in U.K. cross check whether they are running afoul of any of the regulatory requirements which they are supposed to meet.