A private landlord has been fined more than £16,000 for failing to license his property.
It is the first time South Tyneside Council has served a Civil Penalty, because the landlord did not have the required licence for five people to live in his House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in South Shields.
He had been advised that he would need an HMO licence if there were more than four tenants living in the property.
The property was also lacking fire safety measures and was subject to an Improvement Notice.
The landlord appealed against the penalty to the Residential Property Tribunal, however the appeal was rejected and the decision to uphold the penalty was confirmed by the tribunal on 22 April 2021. The landlord further appealed this decision, but this further appeal was also dismissed.
Stuart Wright, Head of Environment at South Tyneside Council, said: "This is the first Civil Penalty we have been awarded and it sends a clear message to landlords that they must operate within the law and that their properties must be decent, well-managed and safe.
"This policy has given us another weapon in our armoury to tackle issues in the private rented sector and encourage swift action from landlords to resolve problems.
"This is not a profit-making scheme; fines are channelled back into housing enforcement activity and supports our commitment to driving up standards in the private rented sector."
The council adopted the Private Sector Civil Penalties Policy in 2019. It allows the council to issue private landlords with fixed penalty notices as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences.
Fines of between £600 and £30,000 can be imposed for offences around licensing, overcrowding and the management of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The amount fined depends on various factors including the severity of the offence.