Is the Council request for information legitimate?

Is the Council request for information legitimate?

16:06 PM, 2nd November 2022, About 2 years ago 13

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Hi all, I’m perplexed by a recent request for information from the council.

I’ve operated an HMO in Northampton for several years. It has valid gas, electric and EPC certificates, alarms, fire doors, etc. IMHO, nothing amiss with it. Some years ago, the LA applied an Article 4 direction to the area and I thus started an application to register it as an HMO.

However, some of the tenants left just before the first lockdown and, partly as a result, I withdrew the uncompleted application. Since then, it has been let only to the same two unrelated people. I told the council about this and they accepted my assertion that the property wasn’t being used as an HMO.

Suddenly, two years on, the council sent me a notice demanding S16 & S235 information about the property and tenants. When I called for an explanation, I was told they had visited the property twice and not gotten a response: no surprise if you cold call! My tenants say they haven’t seen any calling cards to indicate the council had visited and I’d not had any contact from them prior to the notices being emailed to me.

All this has left me questioning their motives and I’m wondering whether they should be taken at face value or is there something else I need to be aware of?

Y Lana

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Neil Patterson

9:54 AM, 3rd November 2022, About 2 years ago

We would recommend you contact Phil and Des at Landlord Licensing and Defence immediately before you get tied into knots by the council.

Neil Patterson

10:15 AM, 3rd November 2022, About 2 years ago

These are serious forms and should be considered as the same.

There is legal requirement to complete them and they are the start of many investigations.

Northampton is a very aggressive enforcement authority and will use anything you say against you and potentially twist it too.

Like the LB Of Barking and Dagenham, when they start they do not stop until stopped by those who understand the operational application of the law better than they do.

Des Taylor.
Casework Director.

No hate plz

11:21 AM, 3rd November 2022, About 2 years ago

A neighbor has reported it as a HMO. You should take legal advice and WNC are evil and will take you to the cleaners in any way possible.

David Houghton

13:01 PM, 3rd November 2022, About 2 years ago

The council really do like to try and extort money. Best advice is read the legislation. I'd started with writing to the council confirming you have two tenants who are unrelated. Then ask them why they think it's an hmo

I live in Reading

16:20 PM, 3rd November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David Houghton at 03/11/2022 - 13:01
With respect to David Houghton's thoughts my advice would be to immediately follow the advice given by the first quickly written reply by Neil Patterson.
I sold a large country house with a chalet that was let in the grounds. Someone called the council to complain about something and the council inspector turned up and asked for information. My buyer, the new owner, rushed to the supposedly best ( most expensive ) lawyer in town and took 6 months using a junior member of staff to prepare a huge multi-page dossier of everything ( including copies of past ASTs) for the last 15 + years and charged him £8000 plus. It turned out all the council wanted was a simple declaration from the new owner.
Although my buyer only needed something simple, as previously seen in many other cases a direct contact with the council can tie you in knots.
It pays to go to the experts when you need expert advice.


16:31 PM, 3rd November 2022, About 2 years ago

Advice above is great.

Nothing to stop you turning the tables and submitting a FOI request to see what they hold against you and your property, specifying all relevant departments.

Dylan Morris

11:12 AM, 4th November 2022, About 2 years ago

You may be overreacting here. You submitted an HMO application then withdrew it. Council likely just want to check you didn’t go ahead with the HMO that’s all. Just submit the documents and info they are asking for.


16:58 PM, 13th November 2022, About 2 years ago

Hi all, thanks for the various comments to my question; this is my first opportunity to reply to your answers.


17:00 PM, 13th November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 03/11/2022 - 09:54Thanks Neil. Was planning on doing that anyway, but wanted to get a feel from other landlords first.

Other landlords tell me that Northampton takes an aggressive approach; however, as the forms are a legal requirement, I have to complete them. I will be raising it with LLDL, however.


17:05 PM, 13th November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by No hate plz at 03/11/2022 - 11:21
Thanks for the heads up. As there are only two people there, I'm not sure how they can do this, but their reputation precedes them, hence my wariness.

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