A buy-to-let landlord appears to have been let off paying fees of around £16,700 to license 37 rental properties in Stoke-on-Trent, but it is not clear why.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is currently operating a selective licensing scheme in part of Fenton, which requires all landlords to be licensed. But council chiefs have refused to explain why the landlord with dozens of properties in the local area, which the authority has refused to confirm the identity of, has been let off paying the licensing fees.
Landlords in selective licensing areas usually face prosecution and the prospect of a fine if they fail to obtain a license. But instead of take action against the unlicensed landlord, Stoke-on-Trent City Council says it was not in the ‘public interest’ to prosecute the individual, but will not explain why.
Randy Conteh, cabinet member for housing, communities and a safer city, told the press: “There are 37 properties owned by one individual where it was deemed not in the public interest to pursue prosecution.
“External legal advice was obtained and the external opinion was not to proceed further. This amounts to lost income of approximately £16,700.”
The council plans to roll-out selective licensing in a further 14 nearby areas. But landlords opposed to plans to expand the scheme are well within their rights to point to the fact that this case demonstrates severe faults in the existing system.
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