Selective Licensing fines for minor breaches?

by Readers Question

11:39 AM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Selective Licensing fines for minor breaches?

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Selective Licensing fines for minor breaches?

Has anyone received a fine or penalty for perceived only very minor potential breaches of selective licensing rules?

By minor breach, I mean perhaps not having an Anti-Social Behaviour policy in place or not having PAT tests done or something similar.

I know the penalties are meant to be high £5000 or up to £30,000 per offence, but in reality what are the fines for what would be perceived as minor breaches to a normal person?

Many thanks

Citynotts

Comments

Paul Shears

12:27 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

"not having an Anti-Social Behaviour policy in place or not having PAT tests done"
Does this apply to HMO's that do not need a licence? If so it's the first that I have heard of it.

psquared

15:20 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 29/03/2021 - 12:27
I wasn't aware you could be fined for not having an antisocial behaviour policy.....In my tenancy agreement one of the conditions is to not disturb fellow housemates or neighbours but I don't think it is mandatory to have that.
And as far as I am aware PAT testing is recommend but not mandatory (although wiring inspections are from April 1st)
I am not saying in happens but all my dealing with the council have been ok. They requested a couple of changes which I did and at no time was i threatened with fines or cautioned.
I think some of this may be scaremongering because they want to sell legal services....of course its important to be cautious and get advice if you need it but in my experience it was ok....this is not advice I am just explaining my experiences and it may be that others have had terrible experiences of the council......if your council has been unjustly punitive to you post on here and lets see how many people have been badly treated

Paul Shears

15:26 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by psquared at 29/03/2021 - 15:20
Well that's reassuring and agrees with my own perception. Thanks.

stvpim

18:02 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Both antisocial behaviour clauses and Pat testing are generally conditions under selective licencing, which applies to houses as well as houses converted to self contained units. Everything other than an HMO which of course have there own licences already.
I’m sure many know this!
I would advise compliance with the conditions as soon as possible for best practice. Do an addendum to your AST’s for anti social behaviour. Get any appliances you provide PAT tested. Better safe than sorry. These are minor compliance issues, the housing officer upon inspection of records will formally ask you to put it in place if you have not done so. Other conditions more serious maybe an improvement notice followed by an enforcement notice if you don’t do it.
I would contact the licensing department and ask them what thier procedure and policy is regarding improvement enforcement and fines. Bear in mind any fine income generated is 100% kept by the council! There was a landlord in the North East fined £2500 for not obtaining a reference and advising the local authority of a change of tenant... shocking!
Generally selective licencing is an absolute nightmare for a small self managing landlord, you have tenants on one side and the council on the other. It affects property prices. It costs £1000’s and £1000’s in fees.
I have 17 units let in a selective licensing area, so am relating my personal experience and view.

stvpim

18:05 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 29/03/2021 - 12:27
It’s generally a condition applying to a licence in a selective licensing area

Luke P

19:31 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

I think Selective and Additional Licensing can pretty much add whatever conditions they want. There’s a good chance many may not be lawful/enforceable, but that will be down to those fined to challenge.

Clint

19:35 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 29/03/2021 - 19:31
Are you able to challenge the council. I thought, they were given the powers to be judge, jury and executioner and there is no way to appeal.

Am I right or wrong in what I have stated above?

Tessa Shepperson

7:49 AM, 31st March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Conditions in HMO and selective licenses are subject to law. If any conditions are unlawful they can be challenged through the courts. For example, they can't make you liable for tenant anti-social behaviour, as (save for a few exceptions like vicarious liability with employees) you can't be made liable for the actions of someone else.

If you want advice on your license conditions we have an 'HMO Hotline' telephone advice service, which can also be used for selective licensing, here: https://landlordlaw.co.uk/openaccess_content/the-landlord-law-telephone-advice-service/

Jessie Jones

9:39 AM, 3rd April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Nottingham City Selective Licensing scheme is indeed very authoritarian in it's approach, and the condition to have an antisocial behaviour policy in place is one of the conditions of having a licence, and any breach of the conditions can lead to a fine.
Recently the council posted a link of all the enforcement action they have taken so far, plus details of their enforcement policy, which can be found here https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/information-for-residents/housing/private-rented-accommodation/investigating-housing-offences/
When I last looked, there hadn't been any obvious fines for trivial breaches but you may want to double check.
I don't have such a policy for the one house I have within the scheme area, and similarly I also don't do regular visits, but that is because my tenant is a sweet lady who calls me when she needs to. Tenants are entitled to peaceful occupation, and unnecessary visits or serving antisocial behaviour policies on sweet ladies is not lawful, IMHO. However, if she moved a noisy friend or relative in with her then I would adopt a different approach.


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