Mr John Elwes, the owner of a property in Herbert Crescent, Eastville was ordered to pay over £6,000 in penalties and costs after repeatedly refusing to pay the license fee required to rent the property. After attempts to get the property licensed, and following a previous prosecution for the offence, Bristol City Council took enforcement action against Mr Elwes for disregarding the legal requirement to license a rented property. All landlords wanting to rent out properties in the Eastville and St George area need to apply for a property license.
Mr Elwes appealed the council’s decision to serve the finance penalty but the appeal was thrown out by the Tribunal on the grounds that there was no reasonable prospect of the appeal succeeding. Bristol City Council made an application for the appeal to be struck out and put in a claim for costs incurred in defending the appeal. The Tribunal ruled that Mr Elwes should pay the council costs of £2,386.65 in addition to the Financial Penalty of £2,954.
Bristol City Council’s Private Housing Team have a range of enforcement powers available to them for landlords that fail to comply when renting out their properties. There are new financial penalties of up to £30,000 that landlords need to be aware of that can be made for certain offences. The appeal process is designed to be simple and straightforward to enable landlords to appeal without generating large legal costs.
Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Mr Elwes has repeatedly neglected to engage with the Council and ensure he had the correct licence for his property. Officers from the Private Housing Team are actively looking for properties that are not licensed, and landlords that ignore their responsibilities will be investigated and may be brought before the courts and prosecuted or be subject to Financial Penalties. Mr Elwes didn’t engage with us and now has to pay almost double the penalty originally applied.”
“We urge landlords to cooperate with our officers to avoid unnecessary court cases fines or penalties. The vast majority of landlords are keen to work with us and together we can continue to improve housing conditions within the city."
For more information about how to get a property licensed, visit https://www.bristol.gov.uk/licences-permits/property-licences-for-landlords