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First prosecution under council's controversial lettings licensing scheme

A landlord has become the first to be prosecuted by Waltham Forest council for failing to obtain one of its controversial so-called 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.

  • Barry X

    ....and a "victim surcharge"..... once again I can't help wondering who the real "victim" is here (certainly not the council or the public at large).

    No doubt now Waltham Forest council has forcibly extracted this money from her they will use it to "improve living standards" in the house she has been apparently successfully and quietly renting for the last 11 years..... no? I thought not!

    Presumably too, the mere fact of her being forced to pay for this licence (and WF's costs in extorting it from her) will now somehow magically prevent (or at the very least reduce) anti-social behaviour somewhere or other, perhaps even in her own rental property? No? again, I thought not!

    What better sector to target for such a scam than us, the not especially popular and also largely helpless sitting-duck-Private-Landlords...?... yes, we're easy pickings for central and local governments alike and they know it and are onto us.

    I'm starting to think that maybe, contrary to my usual politics, we should organise ourselves into a very militant and alarming landlord's union and when there are enough of us to safely fight back we should start organising carefully planned and well thought out c/tax strikes and of course all of us should absolutely refuse to participate in any of their daft and fraudulent "licencing schemes" that appear to be designed purely and simply to take money from us while doing absolutely nothing useful or relevant, let alone of value or importance, for anyone.

    I think it disgraceful enough that c/tax exemptions have been systematically phased out over the last few years (now there is none, whereas once there was quite rightly no c/tax to pay for empty and unfurnished properties - for a year, then reduced to 6 months, then a token 2 weeks and now abolished, and no doubt with "surcharges", e.g. 150% to pay in future to "incentivise" us to "bring our empty properties back into use for hard working families" or whatever similarly emotive lies they will use to justify the next step in their endless and escalating campaign of fleecing us).

  • Barry X

    PS. Obviously individuals are powerless to defend themselves from the dark forces of greedy, self-interested local authorities, but the same LA's simply don't have the resources or (dare I say it) nouse or bottle to take on more than a few cases at a time let alone dozens or better still hundreds (which would also make headlines and raise awareness of what's going on).

    As it happens I'm increasingly tired of the whole business of residential lettings (this is now my 20th year as a successful hands-on landlord)..... I'm totally fed-up with the growing mountains of new, and largely pointless, legislation (e.g. last October, and again this Feb and all the attacks on Section 21 Notices - a fundamental principle now seriously compromised and on its way out as far as I can see) and dramatic rise in taxation (especially taking into account the staggering amount of c/tax we're all now forced to quietly pay for every rental void of even a single day in any of our properties - a stealth tax I tired hard to raise awareness of, as well as fight to some extent, but hopelessly as nobody seemed interested or perhaps everyone is too dazed and pliant now).....

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