Unscrupulous Manchester landlords found to be in breach of property management regulations have been fined £97,500 in the last seven months.
Since May, Civil Penalties totalling £97,500 have been handed to rogue landlords across the city as the council continues to pursue enforcement action against private landlords whose property fails to meet the required standards.
Civil Penalties of up to £30,000 can be imposed by the council where serious offences have been committed, as an alternative to prosecution.
EWC Realty Limited was ordered to pay the highest penalty (£30,000) allowed under housing legislation after failing to comply with Improvement Notices on their property on Moston Lane, Moston.
The property had a number of hazards which included no fixed heating and an inadequate fire escape. In the event of a fire, the occupiers had to escape via a kitchen which is considered a high risk room and would impede a safe exit from the property.
Also failing to comply with Improvement Notices were Citygold Estates Limited who were fined £21,500 in relation to their property on Kingscliffe Street, Moston. The property also had damp in the living room, blocked and damaged guttering, and inadequate fire separation between the basement and the ground floor.
In Crumpsall, an area of Selective Licensing, a landlord was issued a penalty of £10,500 for failing to provide an electrical safety certificate - in breach of Selective Licensing conditions - and for failing to comply with an improvement notice on their property on Houghton Road.
Elsewhere in the city, landlords of properties in Chorlton, Gorton, Longsight, and Withington received Civil Penalties totalling £35,500, for overcrowded properties and for failing to comply with improvement notices. Hazards included insufficient heating, lack of fire precautions, windows unable to be opened for ventilation, missing stair handrails, and damp and mould in the properties.
Payments received by the council from Civil Penalties are used to fund further housing enforcement activity.
Selective Licensing is a focused programme that requires landlords or managing agents to licence their properties if they rent a home in a specific area. It includes mandatory conditions to ensure good management of private properties in designated areas – currently parts of Crumpsall, Moston, Old Moat, and Moss Side.
A landlord must apply for a licence if they rent a property in the licensable area and can be fined for not obtaining a licence. Council officers will then carry out compliance checks to ensure licensed Landlords are fulfilling the requirements of the scheme.
Crumpsall was Manchester’s first designation, which began in March 2017. Since, 99% of landlords in the licensable area have applied. 38 inspections have already been carried out and nine were found to be non-compliant. The landlords of these properties were issued with improvement notices and works to two properties have already been completed, with on-going works at the remaining seven homes.
In Crumpsall alone, 320 applications have been accompanied by a new gas safety cert – 30% of which were obtained at the time of application, suggesting the licensing scheme has moved landlords to comply in this area, improving safety in those homes.
Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “Manchester’s private rented homes represent the fastest growing property sector in the city and this type of housing is vital to meet our housing demands.
“But this means we need to make sure that we have a private sector our residents can trust, managed to a high standard by landlords who take their responsibilities seriously.
“Tenants have a right to live in a safe and decent home and we will continue to work hard to help drive up standards in private accommodation.
“As these penalties show, landlords failing in their obligation to make their properties fully compliant with licensing requirements, can expect to pay a heavy price for their neglect.”