Council’s selective licensing scheme slammed by tribunal

Council’s selective licensing scheme slammed by tribunal

11:34 AM, 11th April 2023, About 11 months ago 24

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A council’s selective licensing scheme has been criticised by a First-tier Tribunal (FTT) for covering a wide area rather than focusing on areas with rogue landlords and anti-social behaviour.

The comments come in a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) decision after a case was brought by Justice for Tenants to support a claim by a tenant couple.

They had applied for a RRO for £12,946 after discovering that their rented home in Nottingham did not have a licence.

In its decision, the FTT reduced the claim by 90% because of mitigating circumstances so the couple will receive £774.59 and costs of £300.

‘Nottingham City Council appears to have imposed a selective licensing regime’

But the tribunal’s verdict also slams the council and it said: “We are also concerned that Nottingham City Council appears to have imposed a selective licensing regime over a substantial part of its area rather than targeting particular areas where problems of poor housing, anti-social behaviour etc. are found.

“We are concerned that local authorities adopting this approach may be tempted to regard the licensing regulations as being a regular source of income rather than dealing with the issues for which they were intended.”

‘The council has already got a bad name’

Well-known Nottingham landlord Mick Roberts told Property118: “The council has already got a bad name but now the authorities have started to take notice.

“The RRO Tribunal said Nottingham Council is seen as money making because its selective licensing scheme covers the whole city and not the deprived areas.

“I have many houses in these ‘deprived areas’ and when I’ve asked the Labour council to comment on this, they just say ‘It’s an area’.”

He added: “The council, in their infinite wisdom, thought they knew better when creating the selective licensing scheme but landlords with common sense know why these schemes are created.

“Not only do they make the rent more expensive for tenants, but many landlords also decide to sell which makes it more difficult for tenants to find a home.

“The council will not listen, but the tribunal has seen Nottingham’s selective licensing scheme for what it is.”

‘We were surprised to see these comments made at this tribunal’

A Nottingham City Council spokesperson said: “We were surprised to see these comments made at this tribunal, given that the rules around Selective Licensing schemes are clear and long-standing.

“Firstly, we had to make an evidence-driven case to Government which was firmly based on the legislation and guidance.

“This was approved by the Secretary of State to run in certain areas of Nottingham where there are poor property conditions, significant and persistent anti-social behaviour and crime, or high levels of deprivation.”

The spokesperson added: “Secondly, Selective Licensing is not income-generating – councils are not permitted to make a profit.

“Licence fees solely cover the costs of setting up, operating and delivering the scheme in the city.”


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Comments

Chris @ Possession Friend

12:33 PM, 11th April 2023, About 11 months ago

What's the hearing Reference number

Rod

12:54 PM, 11th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Mick, I bet you and a few other Nottingham landlords had a small glass of something to celebrate the council being reigned in by the FTT.

Presumably, the council mean that the fees have been budgeted to cover the costs of issuing the licences and inspecting ALL the properties.

Stockton Brough Council were proposing to bring in Selective licencing several years ago but thanks to the efforts of Dominic Ferrard and his team at Let2, local agents and landlords set up PLuSS (Private Landlords Supporting Stockton) and were able to get the council to work with them in a more collaborative way to improve their properties and some of the uncared for neighbourhood areas. This has produced a more positive outcome for the area, tenants and their landlords and agents than an overpriced, overly administrative licencing scheme would have achieved.

The Deregulation Act brought in housing PCNs to enable councils to retain fines against rogue (criminal) landlords, not to supplement the fee income from licencing. The fact that there are so few names on the rogue landlord and agent registers (which are not publicly accessible) shows it is not being used as intended. When will councils adopt a more risk based approach and use the data and legislation at their disposal to root out these landlords and agents, who give the rest of the industry a bad name and blight tenants lives, rather than blanket licencing?

NCC are Shambolic

13:09 PM, 11th April 2023, About 11 months ago

I was rushed (bullied) into getting registered in 2018 and after parting company with just short of £900 I was issued with a licence under the scheme in August of that year certifying that my place was suitable to rent out (place was already occupied) and here we are approaching the end of that £900 licence and NCC have never been near the place.
Totally a money-making scheme by NCC. Absolute joke. And now they will be wanting paying again for another completely pointless licence.

Judith Wordsworth

14:19 PM, 11th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Croydon is not allowed to reintroduce a selective licensing scheme after their mismanagement of licensing monies

Des Taylor & Phil Turtle, Landlord Licensing & Defence

17:50 PM, 11th April 2023, About 11 months ago

It's good that a First Tier Tribunal has recognised what we all know, that councils are using licensing as a revenue generation tool.

Yes of course they have to make a case to the Secretary of State for Housing but that doesn't seem to be too hard as long as they don't try to get thee entire borough. For most they can bing it in without the DHLUC as long as they do a sham consultation in which they ask less than 0.1% of landlords and tenants.

No surprise that Nottingham brings out the old line "we're not allowed to make a profit". Well of course they're not. But after the accountants have 'adjusted' the overheads to siphon the money off Ito other accounts its very easy to not show a profit. FFS that's what any decent accounts does.

But the bit that Nottingham is carefully avoiding mentioning is that the far bigger revenue stream comes from the FINES they can impose for criminal breach of a licence condition. We had one case recently on a 2-up-2-down (not Nottingham) where shortly after issuing the licence the council inspected. They did the inspection after issuing the licence so they could no inspect with the intention of finding licence condition breaches.

Landlord was instantly fined £22,000. Property wasn't good but also not dangerous.

So never mind the £1,000 per licence. Think about all the lovely lolly from £22,000 per landlord!

Maybe a few £100s to get a professional compliance audit is actually FAR cheaper than a £22,000 fine. https://landlordsdefence.co.uk/hhsrs-risk-assessment/

Mick Roberts

5:42 AM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris @ Possession Friend at 11/04/2023 - 12:33
Chris,

My full notes on this with the Tribunal link which is now public information:

Independent Govt tribunal mentions Nottingham City Council Selective Licensing targeting EVERY Landlord & house instead of the problem Landlords & problem houses. Point 77

This is a recent tribunal ruling for a Rent Repayment order that has just made more tenants homeless. But please read point 77. You've already got a bad name @MyNottingham Council, but now the authorities are noticing u.

Rent Repayment order RRO Tribunal said Nottingham Council is seen as money making, because it's covering whole city and not the deprived areas. By the way even the deprived areas have got 100 people applying for each house-So they not that deprived are they.
And even more By the Way, I have many houses in these Not deprived areas/roads/streets & I've asked Nottingham City Labour Council to comment & they said 'It's an area'.

Nottingham City Council in their infinite wisdom thought they better help with this RRO setting an example so they can boast. However us common sense Landlords know, as soon as we hear this, many of us sell even more houses ACTUALLY making it worse and more expensive for the next lot of waiting tenants. How can Govt get this so wrong? Supply and demand Airlines, holidays, petrol, gas, electric, and now Landlords-We are a sought after commodity. Tell u what, come punish us, that will certainly help the tenants won't it.

So rents are now even more expensive and Sadiq Khan now wants to cap rents. Can these bafoons not see what they doing? I've been to Eton college but I'm the the thickest person on the planet and I am going down in history as the man that helped tenants for one year, but then made many more thousand homeless after that.

https://www.gov.uk/residential-property-tribunal-decisions/15-st-judes-avenue-nottingham-ng3-5fg-bir-slash-00fy-slash-hmk-slash-2022-slash-0015

And as I write this, I get my annual fee demand from the Information commissioner to make sure I am following data protection rules for my tenants otherwise I can't give the plumber the tenants phone number to fix their leak. How did we manage without this data fee for 50 years? I feel so complete now we have this. Another charge & reason to pack up.

Mick Roberts

5:46 AM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rod at 11/04/2023 - 12:54
U got to chuckle cause every man & his dog knows Nottingham Selective Licensing is far too expensive for what it achieves, yet Nottingham Labour Council still blind to it. Even though 2 Councillors now publicly say they don't think it's value for money.

Well done on getting Stockton changed. Bet u got less homeless than Nottingham as well.

Mick Roberts

5:46 AM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ed NG3 at 11/04/2023 - 13:09
Yes Ed, £20+ million kid & u don't even get a MOT on your house.

Mick Roberts

5:47 AM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 11/04/2023 - 14:19
How did this get proved at Croydon?

Mick Roberts

5:49 AM, 12th April 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Des Taylor & Phil Turtle, Landlord Licensing & Defence at 11/04/2023 - 17:50
Des,

It looks like 67% of people, Landlords, tenants objected to Nottingham Council Selective Licensing this time, but they still press ahead.

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