Landlord licensing scheme quashed in judicial review
Enfield Borough Council’s landlord licensing scheme quashed at the High Court following judicial review
A scheme that would force landlords to hold licences has been quashed by the High Court. The High Court today ruled that the judicial review called for by landlord Constantinos Regas challenging Enfield Borough Council’s licensing scheme was to be upheld.
The council’s scheme would have required landlords to hold a £500 five-year licence from the authority for each property they owned.
Non-registration would carry a potential £20,000 fine and a criminal record, with any breach of licence conditions carrying a £5,000 fine.
The scheme was set to commence in April 2015 but a judge found that Enfield Borough Council had not carried out adequate consultation on the scheme.Mr Regas was initially only granted the right to proceed on the “additional licensing” element of his case, covering all privately rented shared homes in the borough, and not the “selective licensing” that covers privately rented single households.
But Lord Justice Kim Lewison said a challenge to selective licensing is “arguable” and could be added to the existing judicial review.
Issuing judgement today, Judge McKenna found that Enfield Council had failed to consult the people who should have been consulted and did not consult for the required time.
At the end of the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, he refused permission for Enfield Council to appeal against the decision.
Mr Regas said: “I have always maintained my view that good housing standards are a human right. But Enfield Council have not gone about this the right way. They have accused tenants of being anti-social and have sought to criminalise landlords for tenants’ behaviour. The council have now been found to have been acting unlawfully.
“The council’s cabinet and senior officers have demonised tenants, defiled democracy and disgraced themselves. They threw good money after bad in defending this case, despite me putting them on notice in June that they were not acting properly. The citizens of Enfield should welcome the resignations of the entire cabinet and senior officers.”
The Enfield Independent has asked Enfield Borough Council for a comment.
Victory but for how long? Enfield Borough Council’s landlord licensing scheme has been halted by the High Court, but is this just a temporary reprieve for landlords? Will Enfield Council appeal or restart this process and is it only a matter of time before they find another way of charging landlords this extortionate fee under the guise of licensing?