Selective Licensing Scheme ‘Additional Powers’ Ruled Illegal By Court of Appeal

by Mark Alexander

16:37 PM, 22nd February 2018
About 7 months ago

Selective Licensing Scheme ‘Additional Powers’ Ruled Illegal By Court of Appeal

Make Text Bigger
Selective Licensing Scheme ‘Additional Powers’ Ruled Illegal By Court of Appeal

24Housing has reported that the Court of Appeal has ruled that councils cannot use selective licensing conditions to impose new standards on private rented homes.

Paul Brown, a landlord in Accrington, is challenging Hyndburn Council which sought to use its selective licensing scheme in certain areas of the borough to force the installation of carbon monoxide detectors and also to carry out electrical safety checks and implement their findings.

Brown was backed by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The court heard that Brown had already carried out both of the requirements, but argued that imposing such standards through licensing schemes went beyond the powers available to local authorities.

Brown and the RLA argued that rather than relying on licensing schemes which only cover certain properties, electrical and gas safety issues are best addressed by councils using the extensive powers they already have under the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

This is the risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings.

It applies to all private rented homes, whether they require a licence or not.

After the case the RLA called for the guidance associated with the HHSRS – which was last published in 2006 – to be ‘urgently’ updated to reflect the considerable changes in the sector since.

This, said RLA policy advisor, Richard Jones, would better support councils to use and enforce their powers under this system.

The case was not about trying to stop councils from imposing requirements, it was about how they go about this – ensuring that they use the proper processes which already exist.

“Today’s judgement is a reminder that councils already have extensive powers to deal with properties found to be unsafe and they must act in a legal manner,” he said.

Questions this raises are:-

How will this ruling will impact other Selective Licensing Schemes?

Are other Selective Licensing Schemes legal?

Will landlords be entitled to claim a refund of licencing fees?

No doubt, much of this will be debated in the commenting thread below, but we will be asking our Hon. Legal Counsel to provide a briefing note on this and we will send it free of charge to all landlords who complete the form below.

Selective Licensing Case Law Update



Comments

Mike

17:14 PM, 22nd February 2018
About 7 months ago

Selective licensing and the use of Article 4 should both be outlawed. This gives local Council unnecessary powers to abuse some its citizens, who vote them in, a kind of thuggery or bullying, councils have been given too much powers that they are now destroying the meaning of true Democracy. They are subjecting many of its people to Dictatorial regime.

JO CHAPMAN

17:16 PM, 22nd February 2018
About 7 months ago

This is music to my ears, it supports all the arguments I made to WLDC during the consultation period prior to them bringing in SL in South West Ward Gainsborough.

Mandy Thomson

19:06 PM, 22nd February 2018
About 7 months ago

Long awaited and good to have this clarified. While I certainly don't have an issue with installing carbon monoxide alarms and getting an EICR done (I do both as a matter of course, although the law doesn't currently require it) I DO have an issue with bodies imposing this and particularly more frivolous rules that they simply make up as they go along when it is not a legal requirement.

JO CHAPMAN

19:28 PM, 22nd February 2018
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mandy Thomson at 22/02/2018 - 19:06
All my properties had carbon monoxide alarms fitted, my electrics complied with HHRS but I had to spend a lot of money bringing them up to licensing conditions. I will wait with interest to see what happens. All being well it could see the end of SL, but I'm not holding my breath, it is too good a moneyspinner for the Council.

Rob Crawford

19:46 PM, 22nd February 2018
About 7 months ago

Hi Mark, very interesting especially as Bristol are about to launch a City Wide Additional Licensing scheme - where can I find out more about this case?

Mark Alexander

19:48 PM, 22nd February 2018
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 22/02/2018 - 19:46
RLA seem to be funding it so try their Press Office.

Larry Sweeney

22:24 PM, 22nd February 2018
About 7 months ago

Congratulations once again to Paul.. I had many conversations with Paul before Liverpool pulled off their fraudulent scheme, He is a fantastic advocate for landlord issues and indeed common sense. I don't believe this will sink selective licensing, rather simply rein it in a little. It must be remembered this is a great cash cow for bankrupt mis managed Local authorities who still have their Chief execs sucking disgusting salaries from public coffers. They on the whole make more than the PM. What Pauls Victory today proves is that Landlords must fight and use guerrilla tactics to frustrate and stall councils. This is not at all difficult or illegal. I have studies the conditions of many local authorities. They vary greatly and are badly drafted. The reality is however with such a hostile environment , The situation will only change when The zealots have to face the unpalatable reality that their meddling ,interference and Over regulation has reduced the amount of private accommodation available. What are Councils to do?. Build more ghettoes. Let them figure it out for themselves. in the Mean time Landlords , zero co operation, Zero engagement and argue Like Paul and myself at every turn. Being nice and allowing Councils to pretend that its all cuddly and they work with Good landlords etc is nothing more than Bullshit.

Mike

14:00 PM, 23rd February 2018
About 7 months ago

In a way this ruling is rather important for those landlords who are forced to get a Selective License, where if the landlord had overlooked some issues with his compliance which falls under other rules outside the selective license rules, he or she cannot then be charged for neglect under the Selective License rules and lose his license. A different ruling would apply and the landlord can then face different charges for failing to comply outside of Selective License. Under the Selective License scheme penalties can be much higher and risk losing a license.

Luke P

14:29 PM, 23rd February 2018
About 7 months ago

I'm surprised at the single comment on 24Housing's article:

"RLA wants to neuter licensing.

If you operate a lorry, you have have an operator's licence in which you meet certain standards - you do not do want you want and wait for VOSA to catch you out. If you run a restaurant, you have to meet hygiene standards and not wait for the Environmental Health officer to call and take you court.

Why do private landlords think they have a unique right to operate their parasitic businesses free from any binding obligations to provide safe services?"

Mark Alexander

14:33 PM, 23rd February 2018
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 23/02/2018 - 14:29
Obviously posted by one of the HPC morons who also frequent The Guardian for company and troll every other online property article they can find because they have nothing better to do .... apart from on this website, WHERE THEY ARE ALL BANNED.

At least the cretin who wrote that comment has finally accepted that landlords are indeed running businesses. I suppose any progress in training a creature with the brain capacity of a fish has to be celebrated.

1 2 3

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

New Landlord Association seeking pledges

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