The landlords, based in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, are the first to be prosecuted under West Lindsey District Council’s selective licensing scheme, after falling four of 15 separate offences of failing to comply with selective licensing.
The largest fine was imposed on Jagdish Singh, 59, who pleaded guilty to failing to licence eight of his properties. He was fined £13,500 per offence and also fined for failing to comply with improvement notices, leading to a total fine of £108,000.
The other landlords who were fined jointly own several of the unlicensed properties with Singh.
West Lindsey District Council introduced selected licencing in July last year in certain parts of Gainsborough, in a bid to improve property standards and eliminate anti-social behaviour. All landlords need to apply for a licence for each rental property owned, with the council stating that around 350 properties in the area are now licensed.
The council applied for Criminal Behaviour Orders on all of the defendants, which have been granted. These orders impose conditions on the letting and management of any properties owned within the district for a ten-year period.
Cllr Sheila Bibb, chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at the council noted that the private rented sector is the only option available for some of the most vulnerable people in the region, and that these fines sent a clear message that the council would find the poor or criminal landlords.
She added: “While we will try and help landlords through the licensing process, those who simply ignore their statutory obligations will be prosecuted. We are currently investigating other landlords for operating unlicensed within the area and further prosecutions will follow.”