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Fine after untrue claim that properties to let 'were empty'

A landlord has been ordered to pay £452 after he breached the terms of his licence in an area of County Durham.

The county council brought the case against Matthew Snowdon of Allenhead after he failed to comply with the conditions of his licence for two properties in the Easington Colliery area, which comes under selective licensing designation.

The council says the licensing area was established to ensure that properties were managed appropriately and that landlords were supported to raise standards and reduce anti-social behaviour.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court heard that the defendant failed to notify the council of a change of tenant in two separate properties. The court also heard despite requests from the council he failed to produce tenant references on both occasions.

“Rather than notify us of these changes, and provide references, we were informed that both properties were empty, a claim which proved false, with both tenants at that time still living in the properties” says a statement from the council.

Snowdon failed to attend court but submitted a letter confirming the properties were now empty. He was ordered to pay a total of £452, including a £292 fine, £130 in costs plus a £30 victim surcharge.

"Allowing someone to move into a property without suitably referencing them can severely undermine the licensing scheme. We want people to know that if landlords don't abide by their licence conditions we will take appropriate action where necessary” says a council spokesperson.

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