Councils are misinterpreting complicated HMO licensing rules and face paying thousands of pounds in compensation.
In Worcester, an unnamed council official made a mistake in an HMO consultation that has resulted in scrapping the entire process and starting again.
The city council has yet to put a figure on the costs, but a spokesman said the amount ‘was not a lot in the scheme of things’ as most of the work was completed in-house.
“I want to apologise to everyone who completed the original consultation online for the inconvenience that this re-run will cause,” said David Blake, Service Manager for Regeneration and Business Engagement.
“Unfortunately we discovered a possible technical issue which meant the results of the previous consultation may have been unreliable.
“We felt the only fair course of action was to re-run the entire consultation.
“This does, of course, give a further opportunity for the people of Worcester to make their views known on this important subject.”
In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the council is considering making HMO licence refunds of up to £750,000 for wrongly classifying at around 700 maisonettes as requiring mandatory licensing.
Newcastle is one of dozens of councils having to reconsider their HMO licensing policy after Bristol City Council lost an appeal that ruled a maisonette taking up two floors of a larger building but with outside access that did not involve the other floors was not an HMO.
Landlords are objecting that they paid £1,100 for a five-year HMO licence and are demanding refunds.
A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: “The case deemed that a particular three storey property in Bristol was not a licensable house of multiple occupation. We are obtaining legal advice in respect of the position of some licensed properties in Newcastle and whether they are affected by the Bristol decision.”