Liverpool Licensing and the Surveillance Comissioner

by Larry Sweeney

9:30 AM, 8th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Liverpool Licensing and the Surveillance Comissioner

Make Text Bigger
Liverpool Licensing and the Surveillance Comissioner

It would now appear that Liverpool Landlord Licensing may now be on a collision course with the office of the surveillance commissioner. The Council in their conditions on ASB, and their insistence on Landlords obtaining details of guests in spare bedrooms not only breach the tenants right to privacy and quiet enjoyment as well as the DPA, but the authority is actually forcing Landlords into surveillance which is illegal and can only be carried out by appropriate bodies with correct judicial oversight. I will revert later and expand on this , but it is another reason for landlords to seek clarification before signing up to this rubbish.sinking boat

I wish to alert landlords to the fact that Liverpool are now attempting to pass the buck by passing the legitimate queries from landlords about the legality of their scheme and their continued data breaches, to their “have your say procedure.” This internal Liverpool Council review mechanism is simply a white wash. One council officer investigates his mates and finds in their favour.

We do not want this, and landlords should state in no uncertain terms that they require the authority to address all our concerns about the ongoing data breaches and the illegality of licences issued to date.

Finally to those who perhaps feel that getting the licence they have done with the agro, I would draw their attention to the prosecution and conviction of a Durham Landlord for breach of a licence condition. See article on Property 118 >> https://www.property118.com/criminalisation-landlords-durham-council/90254/ It is for this reason that no Landlord should sign up to the Liverpool licence until such time as Liverpool give us a Scheme which is legally compliant in every respect.

The ICO are still looking at the 4 complaints made by me and I will provide readers with the outcome in due course. Finally almost 18 Months have gone by and thousands of us still await our licences, and those which have been issued are illegal.

What a Mess.



Comments

Tony McVey

11:46 AM, 10th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Liverpool landlords who have not applied for licences are breaking the law. This will be the case unless and until the licensing regime is declared illegal by a court.

Larry Sweeney

14:16 PM, 10th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Tony,
I am not suggesting, nor Have I ever suggested that Landlords do not apply. The law is clear they must apply. However having applied they have satisfied the requirements of the 2004 Housing act. It is then up to the Local authority to provide a legally compliant procedure, and conditions in order that licences can be issued.
Liverpool are not compliant.
The Co regulators have failed to point out further flaws.
Once again I have pointed out the surveillance issue, thanks to the advise and assistance from a senior retired Merseyside Police Officer.
Tony as it stands today, this useless authority is currently being investigated for 4 breaches of the DPA, Their forms are still not compliant and we have now the issue of the intrusive surveillance which the Council are mandating as part of the Licence conditions.
To summarise ,I HAVE NEVER advocated law breaking, but when one complies by applying for a licence, the Council are supposed to conduct themselves lawfully.
I have already proven that they have not done so.
I state clearly here that this rubbish scheme is flawed on several levels.
I myself despite, waiting 18 months , still have no licence. I could have had one ,Had I allowed myself to be bullied and Had I ignored blatant law breaking by Liverpool. I will not have any truck with Council illegality and I would urge other landlords not to engage or sign up to illegality.
Remember Tony , the overwhelming majority of Landlords are law abiding citizens who have not broken the law.
On the other hand Liverpool council have form. They were convicted in the Magistrates court in 2007 for Offences relating to the DPA. It was a criminal conviction. The co regulators are in bed with the worst local authority in the UK.

Tony McVey

14:55 PM, 10th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Larry Sweeney" at "10/09/2016 - 14:16":

" II would urge other landlords not to engage or sign up to illegality". Your words.
Do you not think that they are at the very least ambiguous?

Larry Sweeney

15:42 PM, 10th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Tony,
Let me explain the provisions of the 2004 Housing act to you.
A Landlord must register/apply for a licence. That is the law and there is no room for dispute here.
Having applied in accordance with the legislation, if the Local authority then fail to provide a proper legal framework to take the application forward, there is nothing a landlord can do.
No landlord should allow themselves to be bullied in to a scheme which is not compliant.
I have outlined many flaws to date. There are more. Look at the scheme and hopefully you will spot them.
I am very disappointed that instead of assisting all of us by highlighting further flaws, and pressing the council to correct those flaws and give us a scheme which is compliant, you continue to harangue me.
This is not about personalities or point scoring. This is a serious forum and the scheme as it exists is not a serious legal procedure.
The LA instead of addressing their illegality are now referring landlords to their "have your say procedure".
Tony please join us and stand up for landlords. Assist us in obtaining a fully legal scheme, and holding this Rubbish authority to account. We are surely all on the same side.
I reiterate , In its current form it is impossible to sign up to.
How many times must I point out that 4 complaints are before the ICO.
You are well aware that it was my intervention which had their section 21 condition struck down.
There are plenty more flaws in the scheme. Expose Liverpool and forget about the farce that is Co Regulation.

Tony McVey

16:57 PM, 10th September 2016
About 2 years ago

I do not harangue you or anyone else, and as someone who has spent the last 30 years giving legal advice to landlords I do not require the provisions of the Act to be explained. My sole objective, which I have repeatedly stated, is to give responsible advice to landlords by urging them to apply for licences. Some of them have been confused by what they have read: I merely seek to clarify the situation.

Michael Barnes

17:07 PM, 10th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Larry Sweeney" at "10/09/2016 - 15:42":

I am confused 🙁

How does one "register/apply for a licence" but not "sign up to the Liverpool licence"?

Larry Sweeney

18:06 PM, 10th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Michael advances a valid question.
Firstly register your properties with the council.
Secondly as per advise from the NLA complete the paper application.
Thirdly request a compliant form as per the ICO guidance. To Date Liverpool have not amended the form as per The information commissioner guidelines. The form is still not compliant.
The process is stalled therefore, because of the actions of Liverpool and not the applicant.
Furthermore applicants need confirmation from the council that the 3 issues I have raised (see previous posts) are being addressed. These are currently the subject of an ICO investigation.
Applicants at this stage should also question why Liverpool is blatantly breaching the 2004 act by not issuing licences in a timely manner.
I will continue to hold this useless authority to account and update readers. Remember applicants who took the advise of Co Regulators and previously accepted the council rubbish signed up to a condition which breached the Co Regulation act 2015 and the DPA.
How can you a responsible landlord sign up to ASB conditions which mean you must engage in activities monitoring tenants, which require Judicial oversight as per the Surveillance commissioner.?
How can you sign up to conditions requiring you to provide correspondence given in confidence from neighbours, to the Council.
The Council have time and again refused to return the forms ruled illegal, and have failed to supply replacements which are compliant.
It is for these reasons that one cannot proceed. You register and obviously want a licence, but the actions of the useless Council preclude you from obtaining your licence. This LA has zero credibility. They ignored all of my correspondence until the ICO forced them to accept that their form breached the DPA. This has not yet been rectified.. if a valid application is made, an applicant has complied with legislation. Furthermore there is a defence In law , if the actions of the LA prevent a landlord obtaining a Licence.
The Courts will convict those who break the law by not registering. . As regards Licences issued to date Most are illegal as the form which was struck down is the same form which landlords signed agreeing to their conditions . Liverpool council by their arrogance and gross ineptitude are preventing the proper implementation of their own scheme, while fleecing landlords and putting them at risk of criminal prosecution.

M P

12:54 PM, 11th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Morning.

To tackle this process we must deal the concept of illegality. From reading the above it appears its being approached from 2 angles. There is no doubt the Housing Act creates a legal framework for licensing. Thus we have a legal obligation as owners of rented property to apply. That is the non disputable legal side of the discussion. The problem as I see it is the potential creation of an illegal contract. An illegal contract being an agreement that forces the signed party to carry out obligations or actions that are not permitted under law. There are possibly many examples listed above of obligations that breach the law thus forcing participants to commit an offence.

From a legal drafting perspective the T and C's as noted above are interesting, frequent use of undefined obligations such as "monitor", what is "monitor", is it follow correspondence on your phone, install CCTV, or is it sit outside the property. Given the tenants right to peaceful enjoyment the concept of monitoring unless defined more accurately leads a landlord to breach the law. What the Authority considers monitoring may equally be considered harassment by a tenant. We may end up complying with the agreement and breaking the law of harassment. I know plenty of solicitors happy to accuse a LL of harassment when asking for the payment of rent.

My current favourite is "take all necessary steps". What are these necessary steps, what happens if we dont take them "all", how can we take them "all" if we dont know what they are.

Another is "reference", what is a reference. Who can provide one of behalf of a tenant, can Mum and Dad or a friend or an employer. Tony as we can be prosecuted on matters like "reference", areas such as this can't be allowed to be vague.

After all this one of you will probably direct me to the definitions page and I will look daft. Am I mistaken in not finding an attached glossary of terms. Maybe I have missed an obvious guide of the Terms and Conditions.

The confusion caused by the use of "demand" is a classic example. We can all demand but not necessarily obtain. Its a shame the LL in Durham failed to provide a defence at the court.

Crucially if we can prove the terms of the agreement force LL to act in an unlawful manner we have lawful argument to refuse to comply with the terms of the agreement. I will do a little case law research on illegal contracts and update if its beneficial.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Mark Alexander

13:15 PM, 11th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Superb comment, thank you!

Tony McVey

14:58 PM, 11th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "M P" at "11/09/2016 - 12:54":

The requirement for a reference is, of course, in the primary legislation - the 2004 Act Schedule 4. Monitoring is in relation to allegations of ASB which have been made and involves keeping in contact with any complainant or other person who might be affected. Finally, is licensing a contractual arrangement between the L.A and the licensee?

1 2 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

Shelter's website says Section 21 does not cause homelessness

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