Landlords launch legal challenge against ‘unlawful’ selective licensing scheme

Landlords launch legal challenge against ‘unlawful’ selective licensing scheme

10:06 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago 20

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Two unnamed landlords have launched a legal action against a council’s ‘unlawful’ decision to bring in a selective licensing scheme, Teesside Live reports.

Middlesbrough Council recently unveiled its Newport 1 scheme which would cost landlords £998 per licence.

The scheme would run for five years, and the licence fee has been increased from £820.

But the landlords say they are applying to the High Court to quash the order – putting the July start date of the scheme in jeopardy.

Slammed by landlords as ‘rapacious’ and ‘unreasonable’

The new scheme has been slammed by landlords as ‘rapacious’ and ‘unreasonable’ with some saying the licensing scheme prevents landlords from investing.

The council says the scheme will improve housing standards in privately rented homes and licensed landlords face £5,000 for breaching licence conditions.

Unlicensed landlords face an unlimited fine or a £30,000 civic penalty for non-compliance.

However, the council points to ‘significant and ongoing’ anti-social behaviour in Newport and North Ormesby as a reason for introducing the scheme.

The council says that the previous scheme has been a success with ‘great improvements’.

The landlords question this and say that if it was such a success, why do they need to repeat the scheme with a higher licence fee?

‘Making the landlord responsible for anti-social behaviour’

Speaking about the Middlesbrough scheme, Phil Turtle, of Landlord Licensing & Defence who are experts in selective licensing, told Property118: “In most licences – selective and HMO – the councils create a licence condition making the landlord responsible for anti-social behaviour, the breach of which is a criminal offence.

“The penalty for that breach is level 5 on the standard scale which means unlimited fines and a criminal record for the landlord if prosecuted.

“Or a financial penalty of up to £30,000 if the council prefers to enforce by way of a financial penalty – and keep all the money.”

He added: “It surpasses belief that councils, which together with the police, have proven themselves incapable of controlling anti-social behaviour now attempt to force the responsibility with criminal liability onto landlords for matters over which the licence holder cannot possibly have control.”

Council has not complied with the necessary requirements

But the two landlords launching the legal action say the council has not complied with the necessary requirements when making its final decision.

Teesside Live reports that the legal papers suggest that Middlesbrough Council has used data on anti-social behaviour from other areas of the ward to justify the creation of its licensing scheme.

They landlords also say that the council hasn’t considered alternatives to licensing.

A solicitor acting for the landlords has now sent a formal challenge to the council that warns of the intended legal action.

The council has declined to comment on the legal action.


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Comments

Reluctant Landlord

10:21 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

excellent news. I'll be following this story intently.

Martin Thomas

10:28 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

This is precisely the sort of thing that the NRLA should have been doing!

Elena Sh

10:28 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

councils and government are acting like robbers...

Julian Lloyd

10:39 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Thomas at 06/06/2024 - 10:28
Absolutely right, otherwise what use are the NRLA at this time of existential threats?

moneymanager

10:42 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

They're communists, same as Downing Street.

Elena Sh

10:46 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Thomas at 06/06/2024 - 10:28
It's the time for the landlords to realise that those guys from NRLA are useless and the organisation itself is obsolete...Landlords must create their own reliable trustful body which will really defend landlords from robbers. Or change the CEOs

Cider Drinker

11:02 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

Is the Council really suggesting that only PRIVATE tenants are responsible for ‘𝑠𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔’ 𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑖-𝑠𝑜𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑏𝑒ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑟’ in the Teesside area?
Do Social Housing tenants, owner-occupiers and visitors to the area wear their halos with pride?
The (SL) schemes are fundamentally unfair and are all about raising taxes. Taxes that only private tenants need to pay.
Now, there may well be some private landlords on Teesside that fill their properties with ASB tenants. However, the remedy for this is to tackle the guilty landlords and their tenants rather than using a very broad brush to tar all private landlords (and their tenants) equally.
Of course, if the private landlords didn’t house the bad tenants, who would?
Perhaps if the Police did their job, the anti-social behaviour would be dealt with appropriately,
Is there a crowdfunding page to help these heroes in their noble quest?

Cider Drinker

11:10 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

Interestingly, Newport has 𝑎 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 ℎ𝑖𝑔ℎ 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝐵𝑀𝐸 𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠 according to a Google search.

Is the Council being racist in their approach?

http://www.streetsaheadforinformation.co.uk/uploads/9/3/1/8/93186728/client_satisfaction_survey_report__red_design__sfi_action_plan_v33.pdf

Peter Fredericks

11:38 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Thomas at 06/06/2024 - 10:28
I couldn't agree more.

LaLo

11:40 AM, 6th June 2024, About A week ago

Sock it to them! I’ve tried to get on the NRLA but I think the site is down. Any ideas anyone?

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