Landlord fined for conditions of Easington Colliery properties

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

Durham County Council brought the case against Matthew Snowdon, of Cows Hill Road, Allenhead, after he failed to comply with the conditions of his licence for two properties on Thorpe Street, Easington Colliery, which come under the selective licensing designation.

The Wembely area of Easington Colliery has been a designated selective licensing area since July 2014. It was established to ensure that properties are managed appropriately and that landlords are 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 on Thorpe Street. The court also heard despite requests from the council he failed to produce tenant references on both occasions.

Rather than notify the council of these changes, and provide references, the council was informed that both properties were empty, a claim which proved false, with both tenants at that time still living in the properties.

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.

Cllr Kevin Shaw, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for housing and assets, said: “We are committed to working with landlords to improve the standard of homes across the county.

“Selective licensing means that conditions are in place to allow the council to have a degree of control over those properties. This includes regulating the people who occupy them.

“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.”