A licensing expert has warned landlords living overseas about the dangers of asking UK-based friends or firms to apply for their selective licence.
It follows the case of one landlord in Canada who could be forced to sell her two London flats because she doesn’t have anyone able to take on the responsibility. Louise Jones told the BBC that Greenwich Council requires someone with a UK address as the licence-holder, who also needs a DBS check, but that her elderly relatives in the UK can’t help.
All councils insist on UK domiciled licence holders for all property licences, according to Des Taylor (pictured), casework director at Landlord Licensing & Defence, who tells LandlordZONE that many overseas landlords get their friends or even accountants or solicitors to take the licences for them.
“This puts those people in grave danger of massive fines and even a criminal record - plus for regulated professionals, it puts their entire career and business at risk,” warns Taylor, who believes landlords can’t sensibly manage a property from abroad without a competent landlord or agent.
“We see many disastrous situations where landlords believe they can ‘manage’ property from overseas and the situation can be awful and dangerous for the tenants with no inspections and no repairs,” he adds. “Ultimately the landlords as well as their proxy licence-holders end up with massive enforcement fines when they are found lacking and the truth is uncovered.”
A Greenwich Council spokesperson tells LandlordZONE that comprehensive safety regulations protect everybody involved in the agreement. She adds: “Overseas landlords are able to appoint a manging agent in the UK to act on their behalf. We do not ask landlords to evict tenants - any complaints made will be responded to through our formal complaints process.”