Coronavirus

We have set up a dedicated Coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage. Click here or go to www.newcastle.gov.uk/coronavirus

Andrew McKegney
By Andrew McKegney

Senior Staff Writer

23 December 2019

| | 3 min read

Housing

Landlord fined for not having a licence

Failing to have a licence cost a landlord more than £6,000 when he was prosecuted by a North East council.

Rooftops
housing

Failing to have a licence cost a landlord more than £6,000 when he was prosecuted by a North East council.

Balal Ali pleaded guilty at Newcastle Magistrates Court for not having a licence for a House of Multiple Occupation contrary to the Housing Act 2004.

Ali, 44, of Parkside House, Station Road, Newcastle, was fined £5,843, ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and legal costs of £877.

The prosecution was brought by Newcastle City Council following a joint investigation with Northumbria Police into suspected modern-day slavery.

The operation centred on Bentincks furniture factory on Nest Road, Gateshead in April this year.

No police charges were brought against the factory, but the local authority visited Ali’s property after multiple workers at the factory gave it as their address. Ali was Operations Manager at the factory.

A housing enforcement officer found the property had nine bedrooms each with their own numbered and lockable door.

The court heard there were 10 or 11 residents living in the house each paying Ali between £40 and £60 per week depending on the room.

Despite this Ali failed to license the property as an HMO with Newcastle City Council which would have cost him £843.

In mitigation Ali, who pleaded guilty by post and did not attend, told the court the property had had several letting agents which must have caused confusion.

He accepted it was an oversight and he should have applied for an HMO licence.

In passing sentence, District Judge Griffiths, said she could not understand why a landlord would not just obtain a licence. She urged landlords to ensure they are properly licensed as it protects not only tenants but also the landlord.

Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Linda Hobson, said: “Landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure they are properly licensed. This is to maintain good standards for tenants and protect themselves from prosecution.

“It was a flagrant breach of the law and has proven extremely costly for the landlord.

“It sends a strong message that landlords must have their properties fully licensed. If they are not, Newcastle City Council will not hesitate to prosecute them.”

The property in Callerton Place, Newcastle, is no longer operating as an HMO.

From April 6 2020 more properties in Newcastle’s private rented sector will be required by law to have a license. To find out more go to https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/environment-and-waste/environmental-health-and-pollution/private-sector-housing-5

It sends a strong message that landlords must have their properties fully licensed. If they are not, Newcastle City Council will not hesitate to prosecute them.

Cllr Linda Hobson

Cabinet Member for Housing,