Hatfield landlord fined for licence despite tribunal appeals

Welwyn Hatfield Council could face more housing pressure from those leaving London

Mr Pinto was initially fined £5,000, which was later reduced to £2,500. - Credit: Archant

A Hatfield landlord has been hit with a reduced fine of £2,500 for not having a House in Multiple Occupation Licence, despite two tribunal appeals.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council initially fined Mr Pinto £5,000, but he decided to appeal the decision at a tribunal.

The first-tier tribunal agreed with the council’s decision, but decided to half the landlord’s fine.

Mr Pinto then appealed at the upper tribunal, held in London, on the grounds that the council had served the notice out of time and did not have sufficient evidence.

The upper tribunal judge Elizabeth Cooke agreed with the first-tier tribunal decision and the appeal was once again rejected on both counts.

This is the first time that a Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council case has been tested at both tribunals.

It comes after the council’s Private Sector Housing team had the fine for another landlord for not having a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report, another case that was upheld following an appeal.

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“These tribunal decisions have vindicated the decision of our officers to fine a landlord who was not acting lawfully and continued to operate without the correct licence,” said councillor Fiona Thomson, executive member for housing.

“I’d like to thank the Private Sector Housing and Legal Services teams for their hard work and diligence in presenting their evidence at both tribunals.

“We want to reassure private sector tenants that they can find good quality, fully vetted tenancies by going through our landlord accreditation scheme, the details of which can be found through the council’s website.”

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council have called on landlords and tenants to use council-run accreditation scheme, PAL, when renting to make sure the process is correct.

For help finding accommodation, visit www.pal-online.org.uk. More information and support for private tenants can be found on the council's website.