Landlord from Sheffield fined £1,100 for breaching new licensing rules in Rotherham

A landlord from Sheffield has been fined more than £1,000 after falling foul of new licensing regulations for properties in Rotherham.

Monday, 28th November 2016, 4:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:31 am
Ayaz Hussain Bhatti failed to appear at Sheffield Magistrates' Court, where he was found guilty of two housing offences

Ayaz Hussain Bhatti, who owns addresses in Belmont Street and Holmes Lane, Rotherham, failed to comply with 'selective licensing' rules introduced by Rotherham Council last year.

He was found guilty at Sheffield Magistrates' Court in his absence on November 15 of failing to license a property under the Housing Act 2004 and non-compliance with a legal notice requiring him to provide the council with ownership details for one of the properties.

The 56-year-old, of Queens Road, Sheffield, was fined a total of £1,106 and ordered to pay £274 costs and a £44 victim surcharge - bringing his total bill to £1,424.

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Rotherham Council said the landlord had submitted paperwork on a number of occasions but each time without adequate information.

It said he admitted to council officers that he may have been 'naïve' with his applications but had denied being obstructive with the contradictory information supplied.

Coun Dominic Beck, Rotherham Council's cabinet member for housing, said: "Our housing officers gave Mr Bhatti a number of opportunities to provide the necessary paperwork but he repeatedly failed to provide satisfactory information.

"We will continue to take legal action when landlords fail to licence within reasonable timescales to ensure that standards continue to be maintained in the private rented sector for the benefit of tenants.

"I would like to thank the majority of landlords who are working with the Council to improve standards, and call on those who aren't to come on board."

In May 2015, Rotherham Council designated certain parts of the borough as a 'selective licensing' area, requiring all privately rented properties within the boundary to be licensed with the council unless subject to exemption.

The measure was introduced to tackle low housing demand and ensure rental properties are well managed, and those breaching the conditions can be fined up to £20,000.