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Landlords may seek judicial review of another council licensing scheme

Landlords may look at launching a judicial review of a new licensing scheme in Redbridge, it has been suggested.

The Ilford Recorder, reporting a meeting held by housing professionals to discuss the proposal put forward by the local authority for a selective licensing scheme, suggests a judicial review was proposed by Mark Alexander, a representative of landlord portal Property 118. 

“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” he said, adding that the local patch would see reduced property to let because ”landlords won’t want to buy and there will be less development in the area.”

Landlord Today and Letting Agent Today have been reporting for over a year on how local authorities have introduced licensing schemes, often regarded as property professionals as merely revenue-raising exercises. In the dying weeks of the coalition government, it was made clear that councils seeking to introduce large-scale schemes would require ministerial approval: Redbridge council has now applied for this ministerial backing.

Ilford landlord Richard Blanco, of the National Landlords’ Association, told the meeting 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 new regulations, which came into effect on April 1, require the Secretary of State to approve any new scheme that covers more than 20 per cent of the geographical area, or more than 20 per cent of all privately rented houses. Other licensing schemes can still go ahead on the decision of the concil, without ministerial approval.

Existing schemes agreed before April 1, like the controversial scheme across all of Liverpool, can continue to operate under the new rules. 

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