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Judicial review Enfield council’s landlord licensing scheme

We found this interesting update regarding Enfield council’s landlord licensing scheme on Letting Agent Today.

A campaign against a council’s landlord licensing scheme wants to take the authority to judicial review – and is appealing for cash via a crowdfunding platform.

The Campaign Against Enfield Council’s Private Rental Property Licensing Scheme says that the authority in north London claims that private tenants have high levels of anti-social behaviour and that licensing will tackle it, even though the authority already has substantial powers to tackle the problem if it really wished.

The legal challenge against a blanket licensing scheme has been mounted by Constantinos Regas, a local landlord, who has applied for a judicial review of the authority’s policy. A so-called ‘permission hearing’ to see if the review can go ahead will be held on October 2.

The fund-raising will pay for case costs, such as court fees and the costs of expert witnesses and transcripts. The fund will be managed by a committee with three signatories required to authorise cheques and payments.

The rumpus has come about following a decision that from April 1 2015 the council will require all landlords and agents to have a licence for each private rented property.

The campaign outlines a range of reasons to oppose this:

– if you should have a licence but don’t have one, you may face criminal prosecution and be fined up to £20,000;

– letting agents and landlords will be charged up to £500 for a licence. The cost of this, and any further work required for the licence, is likely to be passed on to tenants. There are further charges for changes in the licence;

– one of the licence conditions is that tenants and any visitors to the property will not be allowed to use off-street parking for commercial vehicles;

– any breach of licence conditions will result in landlords or agents being fined up to £5,000 and licence revocation. The property could also be taken over by the Council;

– if the Council doesn’t sell enough licences to meet the cost of the scheme, it will have to divert money away from essential services to pay for it;

– the granting of a licence does not mean that the Council has inspected the property. It could be unsafe but have a licence;

– if tenants are accused of antisocial behaviour (which may include rowdiness, littering, prostitution, drug-dealing), the landlord will have to investigate.

– the landlord will need to make regular checks, which may interfere with the tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the property.

Now the campaign is using www.looseminute.com to organise opposition and raise funds.

If you have any comments, please email the author of this article and click on the link above

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