Newham v Me – Landlord Licensing – Advice Sought

by Readers Question

15:56 PM, 13th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Newham v Me – Landlord Licensing – Advice Sought

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Newham v Me – Landlord Licensing – Advice Sought

I would like to see if there are any members that could give me some advice…

Quick background:

I only found out in January about Newham’s Selective Licensing. I own a 2 bedroom flat in Newham that therefore needs licensing. Apart from dealing with two bereavements I have now spent a good deal of time reading up on what all this mandatory licensing is about.

In February I wrote to Newham Council asking whether they would allow me to pay the reduced licence fee of £150, the same rate afforded to ‘Early bird’ landlords at the schemes inception.

Current situation; Instead of saying ‘No’ they said ‘No’ and that the fee had gone up from £500 to £800 and that if not paid within 14 days I would face a court hearing. Newham v Me - Landlord Licensing - Advice Sought

I now await my court hearing.

For my part, the main issues are …

1) the onerous conditions within the licence that may make it impossible for me to comply

2) the heavy handed, unreasonable way in which Newham Council have handled my case

Does anyone know of anybody else that is (or has been) in dispute with Newham over Landlord Licensing who might be prepared to discuss the topic with me?

I have been quoted £1,500+ for legal assistance and the advice given was to just ‘give in’.

Does anyone know of a Lawyer that might be prepared to look at my case for a more palatable sum?

I won’t go into any further detail at this stage but am happy to do so if anybody is interested, especially with anyone that has a similar issue and is happy to debate the issues.

Regards

Martin


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Comments

benny smith

16:05 PM, 13th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi

I have tried like you and was taken to court and lost. My solicitor advised after a few months, that nobody has beaten Newham council in court over this yet.

It will be cheaper to pay the license, the fine will be heavier and you will be listed as a rogue landlord so the license will only be for 1 year and you may have to pay a yearly fee for 5 years.

Only if you let your property of course. At he moment nobody is really letting their properties to Newham tenants, but even if you have a private tenant you must pay.

Martin Wheeler

16:17 PM, 13th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "benny smith" at "13/05/2014 - 16:05":

Benny,

Thanks for your reply.

May I ask on what grounds you defended yourself on? Was it the legality of the licence scheme itself? Was it a technical issue, perhaps in the way it was enforced?

Martin.

benny smith

16:32 PM, 13th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "martin wheeler" at "13/05/2014 - 16:17":

1 was that because I fell in the testing area in Manor Park I had to pay £500 for a 2 year license, then had to pay another £500 for a new license, I advised it wasn't my fault you chose my road as a testing area, which they dismissed. So we had to pay more than anyone else.

Also on another property at the start many people were trying to disband this license idea and I went away, once I came back I argued I was away at the time, after court where I lost I had to pay the fees etc.

I spoke to my solicitor recently and he advised still nobody has beaten Newham on this. The Government has backed them, so they cannot lose.

If you let your property out, let to working tenants and not Newham council

Good luck if you have any winning formula let us know...

Martin Wheeler

16:42 PM, 13th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "benny smith" at "13/05/2014 - 16:32":

Cheers Benny. Last question, what did you pay in Sols fees and what did you pay the courts? Were you convicted of an offence?

Mandy Thomson

17:41 PM, 13th May 2014
About 7 years ago

My first reaction to this was "unbelievable" but I'm afraid where the state is concerned, in my experience they are both heavy handed and ruthless (as anyone who's dealt with HMRC knows) - a large private company would have been more inclined at least to let you pay it off by installment.

In the meanwhile, Newham spent £9.8 million in 2012 to put up homeless people in bed and breakfast accommodation http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/newham_spends_9_8m_housing_homeless_in_bed_and_breakfasts_1_2210003 - they really DON'T need the PRS, do they?

David Soutter

18:59 PM, 13th May 2014
About 7 years ago

This is a political local authority trying to reduce/remove/extinguished private landlords all together. Its party policy from Milliband and his somewhat useless group of politicians

Mandy Thomson

1:06 AM, 14th May 2014
About 7 years ago

@Martin Wheeler - I'm afraid I'm not able to offer any advice, but I have every sympathy for your problem. Property Investment Project also ran a piece yesterday about licensing http://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/landlord-licensing/#comment-262225 I posted a comment about your case; the blog owner, The Landlord (who runs the site) said this: "That is a very, very, very sad case! I can't believe they actually hiked the price from the standard fee!"
I did some googling on Newham - it's not only the PRS they trample on, but anyone, from any walk of life who gets in their way, including the very vulnerable homeless - so much for caring socialist principles.

Joe Bloggs

9:58 AM, 14th May 2014
About 7 years ago

i was heavily involved in fighting PRS licensing in LBN. LBN refused to disclose data justifying the limited ground of ASB in the PRS which is a requisite (low demand does not apply in LBN). The NLA were involved in our campaign and led us to believe they would take the matter to judicial review which as i understand it, is the only way to challenge (which has to be brought within tight timescales). unfortunately, the NLA got cold feet at the 11th hour and let landlords badly down. they seemed more interested in the green deal consultation! the licensing issue has made very little difference on the ground in LBN. only last week i photographed a 'bed in shed' occupied outbuilding. i have had it confirmed that LBN do not use heat seeking equipment to detect these. however, ignorance of the law is no defence and you must have been totally disinterested in your rental if you did not hear about this attack on landlords; the consultation went on for many months before it was introduced. if labour win the next election, expect this and worse:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq-b3vxVOSc
i would say your only chance is arguing that the £800 doesnt reflect the ring fenced cost of the licensing. i think there have been successful cases on this. we used: http://www.bowlinglaw.co.uk/whos-who/
for advice in our campaign. please update us how you get on. good luck in fighting this attack on landlords.

A S

15:50 PM, 28th April 2015
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Bloggs" at "14/05/2014 - 09:58":

I have the above problem only ten times worse with Newham Council. I paid the £800, £500 for the license and £300 fine. Instead of a 5 year license they issued me a 1 year, so £500 every year! £2800 as oppose to £500.

That is only the start of it, 10 months later(this week) after changing my property to adhere to the HMO license and changing my mortgage to suit, the planning team came out and said I have to revert the house to a family home. Therefore losing my income and kicking out my tenants! They said although I have a license I also need planning, and said they don't talk to licensing dept. So nobody told me this, they even came out and visited the place 6 months ago!

Just to add insult to injury the girl smiled through the whole discussion and laughed as her and her colleague left my property.

I do not want to let them get away with this, is there anything I can do?

Thanks in Advance..
Anthony

Joe Bloggs

16:06 PM, 28th April 2015
About 6 years ago

apply for planning permission (although unlikely to be granted) or argue established use if you can.

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