A Tale Of Two Cities/Towns
It continues to amaze us when we see the vast gulf in the treatment of landlords between local authorities – where 13 sq m is enough in Southampton, expect to be asked for 25 sq m in Portsmouth. Leave rubbish out in Portsmouth get a £10,000 fine, want to be a rogue – go to Havant.
This month, the differences between authorities appears to have reached extremes. In Portsmouth, we hear of a letting agent served with a £10,000 penalty for rubbish outside a property which they no longer manage whereas in Havant, we see yet more misery being experienced by tenants of one well known landlord who most letting agents now refuse to deal with.The Havant landlord has a history of bad behaviour, based on coverage in the Portsmouth News. He is known for picking up houses cheap at auction in need of total refurbishment and then letting them without doing any repairs or updates whatsoever. Yet he appears to operate without restriction.
By contrast, in Portsmouth, the agent ceased management of a specific property last year. They would usually call or email the Council and inform them of this in order for them to revoke the licence (as they were licence holders). Unfortunately, this did not happen – probably a bureaucratic oversight but unfortunately, the new agent/landlord did not apply for a new licence.
Thus, the Council were none the wiser of this change in management until a complaint was received re rubbish. PCC then served a whopping £10,000 notice of intent on said letting agent for 'failure to comply with a licence condition as the licence holder is required to inform the council of any changes to the property.....changes to the ownership or management'. On representation they reduced the figure to £8,000 however proceeded to serve the CPN even though they were not following the correct procedure. After several additional interactions, PCC appear to have realised their error and withdrew from the Tribunal, leaving the letting agent with costs of over £1000.
So, our advice is if you choose to let in Portsmouth, be very careful to ensure all paperwork is fully up to date. And if you have a choice, buy properties elsewhere as the local authorities are far less draconian in their treatment of local landlords.