selective licensing plans are illegal Central Housing Group

RLA threatens Great Yarmouth Council with judicial review over ‘unlawful’ licensing plan

The RLA has threatened Great Yarmouth Borough Council with a judicial review over serious concerns with its selective licensing plans.

“Unlawful” condition
Great Yarmouth Borough Council is proposing to bring rented homes in parts of the Nelson electoral ward into the scope of selective licensing.

In a letter to the Council, which can be read here the RLA has expressed concern that one of the conditions that is set to be imposed as part of the scheme is unlawful and has written to the council asking for urgent clarification.

The RLA believes the local authority’s plans to make it compulsory for landlords affected to join a ‘landlord support service’ run by a third-party delivery partner are unlawful.

While some councils do legitimately use delivery partners to administer and enforce schemes – notably in Doncaster and West Lindsey – these do not require landlords to become members of the partner organisation as a pre-condition of licensing.

The RLA believes the council has no power to impose such a condition – and pointed this out in its official response to the licensing consultation earlier this year.

As well as this, the RLA also believes existing rules do not even allow councils to ask whether landlords are members of such organisations.

Policy Director at the RLA, David Smith said:

“We are asking for immediate clarification on the council’s position. If our understanding is correct we want the council to reconsider this aspect of the scheme and come up with a lawful alternative.

“If it will not we will move ahead and issue a claim for a judicial review on this basis.”

Under the current plans the new licensing scheme is due to be introduced with fees set at more than £500 per property for the five-year licensing period, plus a monthly fee of £9.50 to be paid to the landlord support scheme.

The scheme is 20 per cent more expensive via the delivery partner, as VAT is payable.

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