Landlord fined for non-compliance
A Scarborough landlord has been fined more than £5,000 for failing to licence three properties under Scarborough Borough Council’s Selective Licensing Scheme and for failing to comply with an Improvement Notice relating to one of his properties.
On 2 October at Scarborough Magistrates Court, Ewan McFerran was fined £1,500 for non-compliance with the Improvement Notice and £500 for each of his three unlicensed properties in the Selective Licensing Area. Mr McFerran entered a guilty plea to each offence. Costs of £1,950 were awarded to Scarborough Borough Council and there was also a £150 victim surcharge.
Mr McFerran is the owner of three tenanted properties in the council’s Selective Licensing Area which covers part of the North Bay and Castle Ward areas in Scarborough. The properties required a licence from 1 July 2017 but despite the council issuing numerous letters and warnings to Mr McFerran, no applications were made, so the council had no choice but to prosecute.
His failure to comply with the Improvement Notice served on 25 August 2017 related to a flat he owns at 15 Queens Terrace, Scarborough. The notice was served after he failed to get essential repairs done despite a number of verbal and written warnings issued to him by the council. The notice specified that the works had to be completed by 25 November 2017 and one of the conditions was to supply a satisfactory electrical inspection condition report to the council. There had been concerns about the quality of electrical works undertaken at the property previously so it was deemed essential that an inspection was undertaken to ensure that the flat was safe. The council didn’t receive a satisfactory electrical certificate and once again was left with little choice but to instigate legal proceedings against Mr McFerran.
In mitigation, Mr McFerran’s solicitor stated that his client had personal problems that were taking up much of his time. He did not make a great deal of money from his properties and had been waiting until he could afford to make the applications for the licences. He informed the court that Mr McFerran had since applied and paid for his licences although the outcome of the applications was not yet known.
The licence applications are currently being considered by the council.
Cllr Bill Chatt, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Housing said:
"We introduced the Selective Licensing Scheme in a bid to ensure privately rented properties are safe to live in, are managed in a satisfactory way and meet basic standards including gas safety, property management and energy performance. Before, during and after the introduction of the scheme we made it clear that non-compliance by landlords would lead to legal action so we stand by our decision to prosecute in this case."
The council recently carried out a consultation about extending the areas covered by the Selective Licensing Scheme. A report about the proposals is due to be considered by the council’s Cabinet later this month.