Landlord licensing test case to be heard next week

The landlord licensing scheme in Enfield, north London, which has been the subject of heated legal debate in recent months, will be subject to a test case next week.The High Court ruled in October that part of landlord Constantinos Regas’s application to bring a judicial review against Enfield council’s licensing scheme could proceed to judicial review.

The scheme requires landlords to hold a £500 five-year licence from the local authority for each property they own. Non-compliance carries a potential £20,000 fine and a criminal record, with breach of any licence conditions carrying a £5,000 fine.

It’s now been announced that the review is to be heard on November 26.

The review hinges on a series of arguments put by Regas and his supporters including:

– 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.

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