Landlords threaten council with Judicial Review over HMO Licensing Scheme

Landlords threaten council with Judicial Review over HMO Licensing Scheme

13:25 PM, 27th May 2021, About 3 weeks ago 2

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For once, well organised Landlords are threatening to take the council to the High Court over plans to expand a housing licensing scheme.

York Residential Landlords Association claim City of York Council’s proposals are “unlawful and irrational”.

The council’s legal team is considering a solicitor’s letter from the landlords’ association, a spokesperson said.

A consultation is currently running on plans to extend the licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in York. Currently, all homes containing five or more people from more than one household – for example shared student houses or bedsits – must be licensed to meet certain standards.

Under the proposals, the licensing scheme would be expanded to include all smaller HMOs in areas of the city where there are high levels of shared housing – council wards Hull Road, Guildhall, Fishergate, Clifton, Heworth, Micklegate, Osbaldwick and Derwent and Fulford and Heslington.

The council says the proposals have been put forward because it wants to “ensure our city has a safe, well-managed and professionally run private rented sector”.

Landlord Licensing & Defence, comment: “We see licensing scheme after scheme promoted where the PR departments put these waffle-words in the mouths of their councillors. But the hard truth is that council Finance departments have decided that Landlords are their new cash cow. The combination of Licensing Fees and, even more so, the Civil Penalty Fines they can levy on both decent and rogue landlords as a result, is a £multi-million revenue stream for their cash-strapped organisations.”

On behalf of York Residential Landlords Association, renowned solicitor David Smith, who specialises in residential property rights, has sent a very strong letter to the council.

It says the association’s members are “deeply concerned”. They have three main concerns – they claim that the consultation is unlikely to meet the requirements of a lawful consultation, that the documents accompanying the consultation fail to make a “clearly evidenced case” for the scheme to be rolled out, and that parts of the proposed scheme are unlawful.

It adds: “For these reasons, we consider that any decision to proceed with an additional HMO licensing scheme on the basis of the consultation as it stands is likely to be irrational, unlawful, and ultra vires [beyond the legal authority of] the powers of the council.

“If a decision is made on this basis we will advise our client to challenge it by way of judicial review in the administrative division of the High Court.”

“Our client remains happy to discuss alternatives to a licensing regime and to engage positively with the council.

“However, if the council determines to proceed with a licensing regime on the basis of the consultation then our client will have little choice other than to proceed to issue proceedings for judicial review of that decision.”

Tracey Carter, director of housing at the council, said the local authority has received the letter and it is being considered by the legal team.

She added: “All views expressed through the consultation on our licensing proposal are welcomed and taken seriously.

It is noted that many of these consultations are far from rigorous or comprehensive and in nearly all cases make no difference whatsoever to the councils’ already made decision to enact their cash-making scheme.

Landlords can respond against the proposed scheme here: york.gov.uk/HMOConsultation  by June 27.

Based on an original article here https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/19327468.landlords-threaten-council-legal-action-housing-licensing-scheme/



Comments

by Londonlets@gmail.com

14:25 PM, 29th May 2021, About 3 weeks ago

Lucky are you York landlords that an HMO is only classified at 5 individuals or more (being more than 1 household).
In Haringey north London the maximum unrelated adults is 2.
I have a lady in her 50's with her adult son age 20 who rent a 2 bedroom flat. This lady now has a new partner BUT not married to him. If he moves into the 2 bedroom flat to be with her and help support financially it will become an HMO EVEN though of course the council will be told these 3 individuals live as 1 family unit.
It is all ridiculous, bizarre, exacerbates homelessness and encourages deceit.
Yes, all about revenue.
Not as ridiculous as me having 3 empty properties and lots of applicants of low financial means who want to rent - but I'm not willing to rent without either a hefty PROTECTED deposit (illegal since July 2019) or strong guarantor.
The legislation making large protected deposits over 5 weeks rental value has been a killer to the housing market and poor tenants are paying £ thousands to commercial guarantor companies...who in turn most rent guarantee insurance services will not accept, rendering them all but useless.
What a horrible mess.
Bring on the legality of 6-month protected deposits and lenders willing to lend to benefits claimants (like a student loan).... and voila, homelessness in UK will be slashed in weeks.
Landlords can then be fully confident of not being victim of non-payment during the 5-7 month average total of Notice time + court + bailiff process.
A robust 6 full months held by a 3rd party (MyDeposits/Deposit Protection) instead of just 5 weeks is the only way to go, and even tenants agree this would be a massive help to them being housed. Fully refundable to their chosen lender at end of tenancy subject to usual exceptions.

by Des Taylor & Phil Turtle, Landlord Licensing & Defence

0:03 AM, 30th May 2021, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by at 29/05/2021 - 14:25Everywhere in the country a property becomes an HMO with three tenants from two or more households and becomes subject to the HMO Management Regulations on pain of very large fines.
An HMO doesn’t need a “Mandatory HMO Licence until there are 5 people.
Unless as they are trying to impose In York, the council brings in “Additional Licensing” then every rental property with three or more “sharers” needs a £1,000 or more HMO licence.

. The woman, son and her new partner are ok though. They ARE ONE family unit because they are all related by “blood or sexual union”


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