Get Selective Licensing Heard by Select Committe

by Mandy Thomson

11:14 AM, 16th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Get Selective Licensing Heard by Select Committe

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Get Selective Licensing Heard by Select Committe

More and more local authorities are introducing selective licensing (SL), claiming a correlation with anti social behaviour (ASB) and/or low rental demand – these are currently the only reasons that councils are allowed to use to introduce selective licensing. The Local Government Association (LGA) are simultaneously campaigning for the right for local authorities to be able to simply introduce SL at will. Get Selective Licensing Heard by Select Committe

Chris Wright from Twinpier has started a campaign to get the issue of councils using ASB and low demand as reasons to bring in selective licensing (when the evidence is tenuous at best) heard before a Dept of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) select committee by the Autumn of 2014.

There is evidence that several local authorities have used data to prove a link with privately rented property and ASB and low demand, when this data has been tenuous at best – if the select committee finds that this is the case, many local authorities could be forced to rescind SL orders, either wholly or partly, and refund licensing fees to landlords. They would also be forced to produce much more robust evidence (at least while this remains the standard for SL) when introducing SL.

Chris Wright needs signatures from landlords and other stakeholders in addition to accounts of how you might have been affected by this – all details in strictest confidence – please click here for more details

The licensing fees can be eye wateringly high – for example, Croydon Council are believed to be proposing £1,000 per property – payable up front. For a small landlord (i.e. the vast majority of private landlords), this is a lot of money to find in one go.

However, even if the fee isn’t an issue for you, there is much more at stake for landlords; once a local authority has selective licensing in place, they are free to impose whatever restrictions and regulations they want – so if, for example, your tenant doesn’t always deal with their rubbish, or holds a party, you could potentially be fined or criminalised.

You might say that your council is led by reasonable people, who apply SL fairly, but what happens when there’s an election and they’re replaced by an administration with more extreme policies? Remember voters are more likely to cast protest votes and elect fringe and extremist parties at local elections than at a national level.

Please visit http://twinpier.co.uk/selective-licensing/ to lend your support – IN THE STRICTEST CONFIDENCE!

Many thanks

Mandy



Comments

Sam Cowen

11:31 AM, 16th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Looks like a thoughtful campaign - but who is Twinpier and why are they getting involved in this issue?

Mandy Thomson

11:48 AM, 16th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sam Cowen" at "16/07/2014 - 11:31":

Hi Sam

Chris Wright is the managing director of Twinpier, a debt advisory service, other than that, this a personal project of Chris'. He has extensive experience of licensing, both of residential properties, and businesses.

Chris has published his licensing campaign on the Twinpier site as that site is already established; had it been published on its own site, it would have taken too long to achieve sufficient search engine ratings.

Mick Roberts

12:14 PM, 16th July 2014
About 4 years ago

£1000 a property a lot for a small landlord? A lot for a big landlord too.

These councils are nuts. Even less choice for HB tenants then, who are currently homeless & can't find anywhere cause not a lot out there.

chris wright

13:47 PM, 16th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sam Cowen" at "16/07/2014 - 11:31":

Hi Sam - happy to answer here, i advise a number of private clients who are LL's - they are concerned about the costs and very real threat of fines / criminal records which seemingly have little or no chance of redress. The huge imbalance of power of small LL v council and it's deep pockets to litigate you out. There is a greater chance to influence all such schemes via DCLG than going for councils one at a time. I also have been sucessful in other campaigns via SW1 routes which resulted in new legislation and have strong links to leading licensing experts from my work in the licensed trade (pubs). On a personal level i hate to see the little guy getting rumped!

John Daley

19:02 PM, 16th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi,

Please can someone state where the quoted figure of £1000 a property for the Croydon scheme comes from ?

chris wright

20:32 PM, 16th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "16/07/2014 - 19:02":

John

https://secure.croydon.gov.uk/akscroydon/users/public/admin/kabatt.pl?cmte=CAB&meet=27&href=/akscroydon/images/att3850.docx

6.6. There are a number of assumptions (based on the experience of Newham) that
have been made in constructing the financial impact summarised in the table
below as follows:
- The license fee will be set at £1,000 for a five year license period
- the licence fees will be discounted by £300 for landlords who apply for a
licence before the designation comes into force (the “early bird” discount )
- 80% of landlords will apply in advance of the designation coming into force
- That properties let through council/ council approved schemes to provide
accommodation for homeless households will be given further discounts to
reflect cost savings to the council of temporary accommodation

hope it helps

Regards
chris

John Daley

11:08 AM, 17th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Thanks Chris, couldn't find this document on their site.

chris wright

7:10 AM, 18th July 2014
About 4 years ago

brief update on developments coming in from Enfield N.London - one LL has taken the JR route.

http://www.enfield-today.co.uk/news.cfm?id=24115&headline=Landlord%20in%20legal%20challenge%20against%20licensing%20scheme

Ian Manning

12:33 PM, 25th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Could someone please explain 'Selective Licensing'? Many thanks and sorry for being naive!

Mandy Thomson

14:38 PM, 25th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Manning" at "25/08/2014 - 12:33":

Hi Ian

You're not being naive at all - I spoke to a couple I know the other week who have been landlords for several years, their response was "You're not running an HMO or bed and breakfast, you don't need to be concerned!" . How I wish that were true, and how I wish I could also be in the position of not knowing what selective licensing (SL) is!

Just to give an overview, SL (together with additional mandatory licensing for small HMOs) was introduced by the Housing Act 2004.

As the law currently stands, local authorities are entitled to impose SL where they can, on balance, demonstrate that privately rented properties in an area are either under occupied and/or there is a significant issue with anti social behaviour (ASB).

If a property is under occupied, this should be readily quantifiable. However, ASB isn't so easily demonstrated, firstly, because when emergency services attend incidents, they don't normally make a record of the perpetrator's tenure, and secondly, particularly in large areas like Greater London, there are many areas of mixed housing, tenures and people from varying backgrounds. For example, on one road I know well in the Sutton area, (for the record, NOT a borough with SL or known plans to introduce it) there are several private flats, several council flats, and several large, mostly well kept houses. The tenure of the residents is equally mixed, varying from people renting rooms in shared properties, public housing tenants, private tenants, and owner occupiers, some very well to do. There have been some ASB incidents on this street, mostly noise related, but most likely some minor drug related offences too. With no real evidence, is it fair to blame this on the private tenants, particularly when most private tenants have to pass thorough tenant referencing checks before moving in, whereas public tenants usually don't? Local authorities are still, however, claiming a link between ASB and private renting, not because they're convinced that this is the case, but simply because they want SL, and that is the only way they can get it - this is one reason for its controversy.

The other reasons are there is no evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness, and where rogue landlords have been tackled, this has been under existing powers (in areas with SL, such as Newham and areas WITHOUT, such as Harrow); there is also no easy way to identify landlords and force rogue landlords to join, and lastly, the fees and penalties involved are draconian - e.g. fees starting at £700 per property, payable upfront, with landlords falling foul of the scheme facing massive fines and criminal penalties - especially unfair when the burden of proof to introduce schemes in the first place is far from high, and even that evidence is produced by the councils themselves.

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