Landlords could launch legal challenge over licensing scheme warns property guru

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, explaining the property rented licensing proposals, with Mark Alexa

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, explaining the property rented licensing proposals, with Mark Alexander, landlord and founder of, and David Salusbury, NLA chairman in the debate at the ExCeL Centre. - Credit: Archant

Redbridge Council has been warned it could “have a battle on its hands” from landlords who could launch a judicial review over a new mandatory licensing scheme.

Plans to introduce the controversial borough-wide scheme were approved by cabinet members on Tuesday.

If approved by the Secretary of State, all private landlords in the borough would have to pay £500 for a five-year licence from early next year.

Mark Alexander, of landlord property portal Property118, said: “Good landlords are the ones that buy the licences and the rogues never do, because they have always dodged the law. All it means is you end up with rogues going underground and less good landlords.

“Landlords won’t want to buy and there will be less development in the area.”

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Mr Alexander said he thought landlords could look at launching a judicial review over the “legality” of the licensing scheme.

In a meeting at Redbridge Town Hall, in High Road, Ilford, proposals to bring in selective licensing and additional licensing schemes were passed.

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Selective licensing is usually introduced in areas where there is significant and persistent anti-social behaviour. Landlords would have to complete a fit and proper person assessment and comply with certain conditions.

Additional licensing applies to HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) not already covered by the mandatory HMO licensing scheme.

Currently only three storey HMOs occupied by five or more households are licensable, but this will extend to properties occupied by three or more people living in two or more households.

Landlords have claimed the new legislation would increase rents, but the council wants to crack down on rogue landlords, poor quality accommodation and beds in sheds.

Campaign Group Redbridge Renters, which supports private tenants, has welcomed the plans.

Tweeting after the meeting, the group wrote: “Licensing will not increase rents, fee is 96p a week.Nothing compared to the outrageous profits LLs are raking in. Renters want licensing!”

Ilford landlord Richard Blanco, of the National Landlords’ Association, said the scheme could deter landlords from investing in the borough where there is a housing shortage, adding: “It’s not fair to expect the majority of law-abiding landlords to fund the council’s enforcement programme as it will only increase business costs, which tenants will end up paying.”

The council must apply to the Secretary of State before the scheme is put in place next year.

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