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Judge slams 'disrespectful' council over landlord's licencing complaint

selective licenciong

A First Tier Property Tribunal has criticised Barking and Dagenham Council for failing to support a landlord who mistakenly failed to get a selective licence.

It heard that the authority had only issued a 12-month licence in June for the flat at 96C Grosvenor Road (main picture) because it had been rented without one.

But landlord Ms Sonola explained that she had previously applied for a five-year licence in 2018 following a compliance visit.

In February she received a letter requesting her to submit an application – the first reminder she had had - and applied in May.

A compliance visit was cancelled by the council, which then only granted her a one-year licence.

Ms Sonola added that she had not received the licence sent in 2018 and assumed it had been issued for five years when she made her subsequent application. She was forced to make a subject access request to obtain a copy of the 2018 licence.

No engagement

The judge said: “There was no opportunity for any input from the respondents about this because they chose to not engage with the tribunal or attend the hearing.

“It is regrettable that an authority conducts itself in this way and it illustrates a level of disrespect to the tribunal that is unwelcome.”

He ruled that the landlord genuinely believed that the 2018 licence was for five years and added: “It’s not clear what if any inquiries they [the council] made with the applicant as to why the premises were unlicenced when they previously had been licenced.

“If they had made such an inquiry and found as we did that the applicant genuinely thought that she had a five-year licence they may have issued a longer licence.”

It ordered that a three-year licence should be issued from November 2023.

Pic credit: Google Streetview

Read the judgement in full.
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