New Lows for Selective Licencing?

New Lows for Selective Licencing?

9:55 AM, 16th February 2022, About 3 months ago 6

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We are no strangers to councils imposing Mandatory Selective Licences. We make representations at every opportunity even though we know they aren’t considered at all.

I don’t generally disagree with the reported aims of such schemes, but there are few landlords who agree that the measures imposed do anything at all to help achieve those aims and know that the landlords the scheme reportedly target, generally fly low enough below the radar to never get found to pay for the licence in the first place.

Liverpool Council though has just announced a new raft of mandatory selective licencing across large swathes of the city. What is particularly galling is that they ‘cancelled’ all licences at the start of the COVID lockdowns. They didn’t suspend them, nor offer refunds for any time left on those licences. A landlord may have found themselves purchasing a mandatory 5-year selective licence in January 2020, only to have it cancelled in March.

This same landlord is now being forced to reapply (and pay) for a new mandatory 5-year selective licence to start on 1st April 2022.

I know local councils need more funding. And as stated above, I agree with the reported aims of selective licencing,
but I am so incensed by this new ruling (despite not being anywhere near as affected as the above example) that I am considering mounting some form of challenge.

The problem is, though, there’s nowhere to mount such a challenge…

Anyone with any ideas?

Benjamin



Comments

by Martin Thomas

11:23 AM, 16th February 2022, About 3 months ago

Surely, if you purchase a licence for 5 years at a given price and the Council cancel it, they MUST refund you the unexpired portion of the period. If they won't pay, then take them to the Small Claims Court.
Put simply, by cancelling the licence completely, they aren't performing their part of the contract you have with them.
I'm not a solicitor, only an accountant but that's how it seems to me.

by JT-Hprop

12:03 PM, 16th February 2022, About 3 months ago

Are you sure it was cancelled and it wasn't in fact the end of the five year licensing period that ran from April 2015?
It is wrong that they force landlords to pay the full five years regardless of how long the scheme has left.
We have also made representations at each consultation to no avail - the Council are set upon running this money making scheme which had very little effect on 'bad' landlords. All the powers that the licensing scheme holds is the same powers the Council already have to take action under Environmental Health and current legislation etc. The only difference is they can't tax landlords to do so.
I am aware of FOI requests have been made to the Council for them to identify where the money for the last scheme was actually spent - with no or little response - and the person who was overseeing the scheme was arrested for fraud.
If you discover where to mount a challenge, please let us know, but I suspect it will be too late.

by Joanna Fear

12:51 PM, 16th February 2022, About 3 months ago

They didn’t cancel the licences. The scheme came to an end naturally. The new scheme is due to start 1st April but we have been unable to find any information about fees or what procedures are being put in place.

by Joe Robertson

17:34 PM, 16th February 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Joanna Fear at 16/02/2022 - 12:51
I had confirmation from my managing agents today that the council did in fact cancel the licenses before their term ended!! I have also been affected by this and so have several family memebers

by Peter Hindley

17:45 PM, 16th February 2022, About 3 months ago

My understanding (from my LA) is that the scheme starts on 1st April, but the compliance conditions have not yet been confirmed. They have told me that a single family let MAY need to comply with the HMO standards (fire doors/mains smoke alarms etc) in order to achieve compliance.

by Joanna Fear

17:58 PM, 16th February 2022, About 3 months ago

That is very strange Joe we had a lot of licences and had always understood that they would all expire when the scheme ended irrespective of when they were applied for. If you applied part way through the scheme you still paid the full amount but all licences came to an end when the scheme did then there was a period ( coming to an end 1st April) when no licences were needed unless the property was an HMO but they are licenced under a separate scheme.


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