"North-East landlord fined for not getting his licences"
A landlord who ignored repeated warnings from a council that he should licence his property was fined £1,600.
Leon White was also ordered to pay costs of £709 in his absence after failing to attend the hearing at Teesside Magistrates Court.
He faced a charge of failing to licence a house in a selective licensing area.
The prosecution follows a crackdown on landlords by Middlesbrough Council in the Gresham neighbourhood after the area was designated for selective licensing in a bid to improve housing standards and antisocial behaviour.
All landlords who let property in the area must have a licence before taking in tenants. The court heard White ignored letters asking him to contact the council about licensing his property.
Councillor Julia Rostron, Executive Member for Community Protection, said: “The majority of landlords in Middlesbrough take their responsibilities seriously, but there are a few who show little or no interest in managing their properties responsibly.
“A small minority of landlords continue to let their properties without carrying out relevant referencing for prospective tenants.
“Designating a selective licensing area helps the council to deal with rogue landlords while tackling poor behaviour which seriously affects the lives of local residents.
“We are happy to work with landlords, but enforcement action will be taken when all other avenues have been explored.”
Several other prosecution cases are pending.
Meanwhile, councillors in Inverness have had a flood of complaints about shared houses. Around 180 businesses protested about 10 shared houses licensed for 149 tenants in streets around the city centre.
The business owners complained that litter, antisocial behaviour and crime has increased and are having a negative impact on shoppers.
However, the Highland Homeless Trust which manages the properties, claims that any trouble and the residents could not be linked.
Business Improvement District spokesman Craig Duncan said businesses supported the council calling a halt on licensing shared houses in the area and were calling for planning restrictions on new shared houses.