The criminalisation of landlords by Durham Council

by Larry Sweeney

13:34 PM, 5th September 2016
About 3 years ago

The criminalisation of landlords by Durham Council

Make Text Bigger
The criminalisation of landlords by Durham Council

Every landlord should sit up and take note of the prosecution and conviction of Nichola Barker. Durham council prosecuted a law abiding citizen Mrs Barker for not having a reference for her tenant, when the tenant took up occupancy of the said premise. durham council

Mrs Barker had indeed demanded a reference however the tenant had not supplied the reference at the time of her moving in. The reference was actually supplied later.

The housing act 2004 is crystal clear and worded in such a way as to avoid situations like this. Landlords have complied with their obligations when they DEMAND a reference. Demand being the key word. Should the tenant fail to, or not wish to supply a reference, the landlord must then make a judgement call as to whether to accept or decline the prospective tenant.

This spurred me on to reviewing Durham”s License conditions. They are absolute rubbish and fail every legal test. Every License issued is illegal.

  • Firstly Landlords are not required to obtain references, they must according to the act, demand references. Upon demanding they have complied with the act.
  • Secondly Durham state that a housing history of 5 years is required. Durham with this condition are forcing landlords to discriminate against vulnerable people, ex offenders, immigrants and kids leaving home.
  • Thirdly Durham are in breach of the Housing act 2004 section 90 (7) by inserting clauses designed to alter the terms of a tenancy.
  • Fourthly Durham are in breach of the DPA by demanding landlords supply them with Dates of Birth of tenants.

I would urge every landlord in Durham to reject their license and demand their fees be returned forthwith.

Finally in conjunction with Property 118 which highlights such illegality, I wish Mrs Barker every success in the action she must now institute.



Comments

Michael Barnes

19:42 PM, 12th September 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Larry Sweeney" at "12/09/2016 - 17:18":

So, no reasoned argument, only your assertion of your interpretation.

I would encourage all landlords that seek to challenge an "obtain references" condition in a selective licence to read section 90 of the housing act 2004, particularly paragraph 1.

Jay James

20:13 PM, 12th September 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "12/09/2016 - 19:42":

Could you copy paste that here?

Jay James

20:18 PM, 12th September 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "10/09/2016 - 16:06":

Just found it at point 2 of this linked comment.
--
So it seems that the council have used this term to alter the Act. I don't like it at all and feel at least as strongly as Larry about it. However, in view of Section 90 para1, I would obey it until the council's alteration of the term has been tested in the courts.

Larry Sweeney

14:00 PM, 13th September 2016
About 3 years ago

I personally am not the slightest bit worried.As per legislation I shall be demanding and having proof of the demand.That is the extent of what the council shall be getting from me.Readers should not be frightened my Michaels interpretation. O have no problem being prosecuted for demanding but not obtaining.Remember readers Councils do not have the power YET to dictate who we may rent to.

Michael Barnes

15:58 PM, 13th September 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Larry Sweeney" at "13/09/2016 - 14:00":

If, as it appears from your posts, you let in Liverpool, then there is no problem with your approach as the Licence condition (when I looked 2 days ago on their web site) is to demand references.

However, for anyone letting in an area where the licence condition is to obtain references, your approach appears risky.

Romain Garcin

17:12 PM, 13th September 2016
About 3 years ago

My understanding is that a condition to 'demand references' is statutory in all cases, be it HMO licenses, or selective licenses.

Therefore, I would think that there should be precedents on how this is usually applied.

Clearly the wording of the statute is not very good.First because of the verb used but also because there is no point in just asking or getting references. A reference must be satisfactory, however this is defined.
I wonder how local authorities use this condition in practice.

In any case, I think that requesting, and getting, satisfactory references is Letting 101.

Industry Observer

8:35 AM, 20th September 2016
About 3 years ago

Be advised anyway that there is a very short clause in the 2004 Act, I can never remember the number but it is in there, which basically gives Councils very wide discretionary powers when it comes to detailing conditions for licences. May only be for mandatory, though I don't remember seeing that word in the clause when I last visited it, just refers to in connection with granting a licence, or similar>

This explains why some Councils "demand" a fresh full electrical certificate every 2 years, for example.

NW Landlord

16:53 PM, 27th September 2016
About 3 years ago

Welcome to Britain which allows entrepreneurs to flourish and make their own commercial decisions. Who the hell are these useless jobsworths to tell me how to run my business these gang of jokes all over the country couldn't run a bath let alone a business and there own housing stock isn't in the same league as the vast majority of decent landlords provide. I am getting fed up of this endless tinkering whether it be by governments through ludicrous taxes or councils telling me what to do when I can already do it far better then they ever will. Why I ask do I get calls all of the time to house vunerable People that they can't house who's gunna reference them ? Me the councils working on there behalf ? they make my blood boil

1 3 4

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Bridging Finance - is this a good deal for me?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More