A landlord has been handed what is the largest fine issued in this country for renting out properties without a selective licence.
Jagdish Singh, of Leicester, pleaded guilty to failing to license eight of his properties in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. He was ordered to pay a total of £107,000, with fines of £13,500 per offence.
Singh also pleaded guilty to three offences relating to the failure to comply with improvement notices and fined a further £4,500 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
He was among four landlords who have been fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £232,155, with a total of 15 offences involved.
They are the first landlords to be prosecuted under West Lindsey District Council’s selective licensing scheme.
The other three defendants, who also live in Leicester, jointly own several of the unlicensed properties with Singh.
Gurjit Singh and Balbir Kaur had previously been found guilty for two ‘failure to license’ offences each. They were both fined £15,000 for two offences each and ordered to each pay costs of £1,048, plus £170 surcharge.
Harpal Bindra Singh previously had three ‘failure to license’ offences heard and determined in his absence and was fined £15,000 per offence. He was also found guilty for one failure to comply with an improvement notice and given the maximum £5,000 fine and ordered to pay costs of £1,048, plus £170 surcharge.
West Lindsey District Council successfully applied for Criminal Behaviour Orders on all the defendants which impose conditions on the letting and management of any properties owned within the district for a period of ten years.
Cllr Sheila Bibb, chairman of the prosperous communities committee at the council, said: “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.”
She said: “We are currently investigating other landlords for operating unlicensed properties within the area and further prosecutions will follow.”