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Waltham Forest prosecutes first landlord under licencing scheme

A landlord has become the first to be prosecuted by Waltham Forest council for failing to obtain one of its controversial Private Rented Property Licences.

The Private Rented Property Licencing scheme was introduced last April in what was described at the time as a bid by the authority “to improve living standards in the private rented sector and reduce anti-social behaviour.” Every privately rented home in the borough, with a small number of exemptions, is now required to have a licence and comply with licence conditions.

Coral Dawkins, 57, failed to obtain a licence for a property in Leyton that she had been renting out for the past 11 years. 

The council sent warning letters which were not responded to, and the property was subsequently visited as part of an ‘enforcement day’ in January, to confirm it was being rented privately. The case was then taken forward for prosecution.

Dawkins appeared at Thames Magistrates Court, pleading guilty to the charge for failing to obtain a licence. She was fined £800 for the offence, and also ordered to pay costs of £637.31 and a victim surcharge of £80 – making the total financial penalty £1,517.31.

The council says it has received 18,000 applications to the scheme.

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    I take it the property was in an acceptable state as, otherwise, this article would surely mention it.

    Which means that here we have a lady, fined almost £1.5k for......what? Not satisfying a council pen pusher and handing over some of her hard earned cash in the form of registration fees?

    The victim surcharge is the biggest irony of all. As far as I can see, the only victim here is the landlady.

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    In fairness to the LA, they did send her reminders that she didn't respond to. As a business owner, Landlords do have responsibilities. The £650 fee (for a licence lasting 5 years) isn't too harsh if it means that tenants have a safe and decent place to live. The social housing sector are required to ensure and demonstrate high levels of H&S at their properties, so why shouldn't private landlords?


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