Landlord fined £14,000 for failure to license properties

A LANDLORD who failed to licence his properties has been prosecuted and fined £14,000 by the courts.

Martin Horsfall, of Harrogate Road, Leeds, was ordered to pay a total of £20,817.62 at Leeds Magistrates court, with £14,000 for failing to licence four of his properties and for failing to provide documentation. He was also ordered to repay costs to Leeds City Council of £6,802.

Council officers tried to engage with Mr Horsfall after discovering in March 2010 that he had four unlicensed properties within the Selective Licensing Area of East End Park and Cross Green. Mr Horsfall denied receiving any correspondence or having any recollection of any of the phone calls despite records of the conversations being made.

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Mr Horsfall applied to have his case reopened after originally being prosecuted on March 17 2011 in his absence.

He claimed he had not received the legal summonses due to him moving address.

Mr Horsfall’s properties gave further cause for concern after visits made to his properties by council officers highlighted a lack of fire safety provision.

Leeds City Council’s executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods and housing, Peter Gruen, said: “This type of case is exactly why selective licensing was brought in. Landlords who consistently disregard the safety of their tenants and the need to hold a selective licence will be prosecuted.

“The selective licensing team at the council has been extremely successful in the last 12 months and I am pleased to see this success is continuing.

”It is not fair on the tenants or other landlords in these areas if there are people disregarding the law.”

In May 2009 the Secretary of State granted the council permission to introduce selective licensing under the Housing Act 2004 in specific areas of Cross Green and East End Park. The area of Cross Green and East End Park was selected after being identified as having a high degree of empty properties in the area.

As a result any person, owner or landlord who has a property which is being let/rented out within the selective licensing area must apply for a licence.

The cost of the five-year licence is normally £525.