Flagship pro-licensing council does sharp U-turn
The council which became a standard bearer for so-called ‘landlord licensing’ – Enfield in north London – appears to have abandoned any attempt to introduce such a scheme.
Enfield’s Labour authority was one of the early adopters of the landlord licensing craze, claiming it would reduce anti-social behaviour and increase the quality of properties to let.
However landlord Constantinos Regas brought a test case against the council after repeatedly speaking against licensing at a series of council meetings. A judge found that part of the scheme was “arguably unlawful” and shortly before last Christmas the High Court ruled that Enfield had undertaken insufficient consultation for its policy to be implemented lawfully.
Now Enfield council’s cabinet member for Housing and Housing Regeneration, Ahmet Oykener, appears to have thrown in the towel.
“We have been granted permission …. to appeal the decision on the landlord licensing scheme but the government has, since we began this process, changed the law. As a result, even though our advice is that we have a good prospect of success, we will be faced with difficulty in implementing the present selective licensing scheme” he said.
“The goalposts have moved. We also want to revisit the case for additional licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation. We will do the best to protect our residents and this means approaching the new Government regulations with an open mind,” he added.
The law change to which Oykener refers happened shortly before the general election when the then-coalition government announced that ministerial approval would be required for large scale licensing schemes suggested by councils.
The leader of the Conservative group on Enfield council, Terry Neville, has described the saga as “a costly shambles.”