Landlords are set to challenge their local council over selective licensing rules governing houses in multiple occupation (HMO).
The landlords, in Acrrington, Lancashire, are ready to go head-to-head with Hyndbourn Council over the HMO scheme which they claim is unfair and not legally enforceable.
They won another legal battle against the council over the scheme nearly two years ago that delayed the start of the scheme as the council was found to have failed to properly follow consultation procedures.
Now, the landlords are disgruntled over expensive licences and other conditions the council is trying to impose on around 2,000 private rented homes in the town.
Lawyers are set to take the council before a residential property tribunal to argue that the £820 five year licence fee is excessive and that the burden of demanding unnecessary conditions is too expensive for many landlords.
Landlord spokesman Paul Brown said: “We feel the council is trying to use this as a fix all to cure all of society’s problems.
“One of the conditions is to provide an electrical safety installation check certificate. The conditions add a lot of cost on to the landlord and a responsible landlord will know the safety of their property anyway.
“They are using Housing Act legislation to enforce these conditions, but we don’t think this is correct.
He said they had questioned the council about these things but not received answers.”
The council claims the scheme aimed at improving housing standards in the town – and any property investors privately letting a home without the licence could face a fine of up to £20,000.
Deputy council leader Clare Pritchard said: “I think the scheme is something that will benefit everyone, including landlords. We’re also implementing schemes to address problems landlords experience. It’s not about hitting landlords, it’s about improving the way the system works for everyone.”