Landlord fails in bid to overturn conviction

Naventis Court
Naventis Court

A landlord has failed to overturn a conviction for failing to comply with Blackpool’s strict house licensing laws.

Owen Baguley, of Chapel Road, Marton, was convicted last year of failing to comply with Blackpool’s Selective Licensing scheme in South Beach.

In Blackpool, we’re trying extremely hard to drive up housing standards

The scheme has been brought in by Blackpool Council, requiring all privately-rented properties in a given area to have a licence, in a bid to ensure properties, particularly homes of multiple occupation (HMOs), are safe and compliant with safety laws.

Baguley appealed the decision at a hearing in Lancaster on Monday, representing himself in court.

But the court upheld the conviction and Baguley must now pay a further £1,300 in costs in addition to the original fine of £750, legal costs of £350 and a victim’s surcharge of £75.

A rent repayment order is also now being pursued to reclaim housing benefit paid in respect of the property, at Naventis Court off Singleton Street.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “In Blackpool, we’re trying extremely hard to drive up housing standards.

“However, if we’re to progress, we need the private sector to hold up their end of the bargain too and this has not been the case in this instance.

“This is a frustrating case but I hope it will send a message that Blackpool Council is determined to improve private rented housing.”

Mr Baguley told The Gazette the incident was down to a misunderstanding over who was responsible for obtaining the license.

He said: “When I read the draft legislation it said who manages or controls the property.”

At the time of the offence the property was under the control of a management company, he said, but he admitted that after being given the most up-to-date legislation by council bosses,he was found to be in the wrong.

He added: “I am now looking forward to seeing how the cash the council has gathered from the licensing scheme will be used to improve areas of Blackpool.”

Selective Licensing requires that all privately rented properties in a given area have a licence and that landlords show they manage their properties effectively.

The schemes are currently in force in the South Beach and Claremont areas.

The local authority has also introduced grants to help landlords transform HMOs into family homes and hired more enforcement officers to help ensure residents are safe from rogue landlords.