9:36 AM, 12th January 2021, About 8 months ago 8
I would be interested to hear what the readers’ views and opinions are regarding my recent dealings with the Local Authority regarding an application to licence an HMO. By way of introduction, I am a landlord operating in the Midlands for just over 20 years. I have a number of smaller HMOs and several mandatory HMOs, the most recent being the one that is subject to my issue: In short, I made an online application to licence this HMO and the autumn of 1999 and paid the appropriate fee online.
In the spring of 2000, I received a letter from Housing Enforcement that they had conducted an “HMO Proactive Inspection” of the property and detailed that I was in breach of a number of regulations (Gas safety EICR) and that the property was unlicensed. I was also invited to apply for a licence and as the property was “found to be unlicensed” is would be under the most unfavourable terms…
Accordingly, I contacted the LA to correct them that a full & complete licence application and fee had been made (including Gas Safety, EICR records etc). They initially denied it was on their system, but they eventually conceded when I forwarded copies and receipts. I received no apology.
Eventually, in December 2000 I received a notice from the LA of their intention to grant a licence for the property for one year at the maximum fee. To add insult to injury the Licence being offered would expire in March 2001! I was further advised that should I wish to make representation over the terms of the licence I had 21 days. I made those representations by email immediately but have yet to receive a reply, the 21 days have now expired.
So, the pragmatist in me suggests I should settle the matter if the LA concede they have made a mistake and the appropriate fee is applied. To that end do I offer the fee now (£150) of pay the fee requested (£800) and pursue a refund?
However, I am minded that Landlords in my LA are being held to a higher standard than the LA authority themselves: For example, should one mistake be made on an application you would not be eligible for the most favourable licence. I am also reminded that Liverpool CC have misused Landlord’s data. I believe there are a number of potential Data Breaches or am I being vexatious?
1. Failed to register the initial HMO application properly
2. Conducted an inspection of an “unlicensed property” while in possession of information that would prove otherwise.
3. Potentially, incorrectly informed tenants that the property was unlicensed (Criminal Act)
4. Having been informed that the information they held was incorrect failed to correct it.
5. Used the information that was incorrectly held to discriminate against my application: Offered the HMO Licence under the most unfavourable terms possible.
Clearly some above have more merit than others but is it a worthwhile pursuit to take these issues to the Data Manager and ICO, do you believe I have a credible case?
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