HMO landlords have failed in a legal challenge against a city council’s licensing strategy for shared houses.
Southampton City Council green lighted the scheme in July, despite the threat of legal action.
House in multiple occupation licensing was introduced in several city neighbourhoods that include around 4,500 HMOs.
Now the council is considering extending the licensing scheme to cover the rest of the city – and another 3,000 HMOs.
The Southern Landlord Association (SLA) campaigned against the HMO scheme and went to the courts for a judicial review. However, a judge threw out their application and the case will not proceed.
A council spokesman said councillors want to try to claim their legal costs back from the SLA.
Cllr Warwick Payne, Southampton City Council`s Cabinet Member for Housing and Sustainability, said: “It was disappointing that the SLA launched a legal challenge when everything was done to take account of landlords’ concerns. It has proved to be a waste of time and money for everyone involved.
“I’m delighted that the council’s HMO scheme has been vindicated and this is far more a victory for tenants’ safety and the residents who have called for action on HMOs than it is for the council.”
“If the HMO licensing scheme saves just one life through improved fire safety, then it will have been worth it, and licensing should provide a host of other benefits besides.”
The council has urged HMO landlords to licence their properties before January 2014, and claims to have already received around 1,000 applications.
Landlords are threatening similar court action against Nottingham City Council, which plans to introduce a wider HMO licensing scheme.
Licences will cost up to £490 and run for five years.