A Liverpool landlord has been hit with a bill of almost £9,500 for allowing a tenant to live in a dangerous, unlicensed property.
John William Kildare, of Eldred Road in Childwall, failed to comply with an Improvement Notice issued by Liverpool City Council, as well as failing to apply for a licence.
The house, on Hanford Avenue in Orrell Park, had a number of issues including damp and mould, various electrical issues and missing smoke alarms. A room was also subject to a Prohibition Order as due to suspected asbestos in damaged ceiling tiles.
He pleaded not guilty at the first hearing on 19 December 2019, but was found guilty in his absence by Liverpool City Council at a trial earlier today, 24 February.
At Liverpool Magistrates Court, District Judge Andrew Shaw described the offences as “serious” and imposed a fine of £2,000 in relation to the unlicensed offence, £3,000 in relation to the failure to comply with the Improvement Notice and awarded the council costs of £4,410.
Overall, 70 per cent of inspected properties in Liverpool have been found to be in breach of their licence condition since the Landlord Licensing scheme was launched in 2015, uncovering serious hazards such as fire risks, poor electrics and excess cold.
The council has carried out over 37,000 compliance actions, issued more than 2,500 legal and fixed penalty notices and prosecuted almost 250 landlords.
In practical terms, it means action has been taken to improve the lives of tenants — whether that is making electrics safe, installing working fire doors, tackling damp, making kitchens and bathrooms fit for purpose and preventing illegal evictions.
Liverpool alone was responsible for 85 per cent of the national rise in prosecutions between 2012 and 2018.
The Government recently turned down an application for the city council to continue a city-wide scheme for another five years, and discussions are now under way about submitting a revised bid.
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Lynnie Hinnigan, said: “This prosecution highlights the desperate need for our Landlord Licensing scheme.
“Here we have a landlord operating with wanton disregard for the safety of their tenant and blatantly ignoring our attempts to get him to licence the property and carry out basic improvements to make it liveable.
“Landlord licensing is a foot in the door, enabling us to create a dedicated team who have made a huge difference to the lives of many vulnerable tenants.
“We are determined to take action where we can to ensure that housing is suitable and safe, and will robustly enforce and use all available powers in all instances.”