New Brighton landlord fined for breaching Selective Licensing rules

A landlord from New Brighton has been prosecuted for a second time for breaches of Wirral Council’s Selective Licensing scheme.

The council’s Housing Standards Team took landlord Frank Morrow to court for failing to obtain licences for two properties he owned located in designated Selective Licence areas. He was also found guilty of failing to carry out repairs at his privately rented properties.

The outstanding repairs included the requirement to carry out mandatory gas safety and electrical checks. Following an inspection in July 2020 housing officers found the majority of the requested works required under previously issued improvement notices had not even been started.

Morrow was found guilty on September 8 2021 by Liverpool Magistrates Court of six offences under the Housing Act 2004 and ordered to pay fines and costs of £7,190.

Previously – on January 15 2020 – Morrow had pleaded guilty to six offences under Housing Act 2004. These offences were for operating two properties in a Selective Licence area without the required licences, failing to comply with two improvement notices and failing to provide certain documents, including those related to gas and electrical safety. He was ordered to pay £3,777.

In the most recent case, District Judge Healy advised Mr Morrow that these are continuing offences, which is putting him at risk of further prosecution. 

Cllr Julie McManus, Chair of Wirral Council’s Housing Committee, said, “This landlord has shown contempt for the Selective Licence scheme, which is designed to protect tenants from sub-standard accommodation. Above all, his actions put his tenants at risk of harm. 

“The council’s Housing Standards team will take the strongest possible action against landlords who fail to carry out their statutory obligations. These cases send a clear message that the council will look to work with good landlords to improve the private rented sector and clamp down on poor or criminal landlords.”

Wirral Council currently has two Selective Licensing schemes within the borough. The objectives of the schemes are to improve poor property conditions and improve management standards in the private rented sector. Licence holders are required to show basic safety checks have been carried out and that they have appropriate management arrangements in place. 

Image credit: PhotoMIX Company

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