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Landlords take council to High Court over 'rapacious' licensing fee


Disgruntled landlords have started legal action against Middlesbrough Council in a bid to stop its upcoming selective licensing scheme.

This follows their decision to fight the scheme revealed in January this year.

The council is extending the scheme in an area of Newport for another five years and has proposed a £998 fee - up from the current charge of £820 – which private landlords have labelled “rapacious and unreasonable” reports Teesside Live.

Following the decision in April, two landlords plan to seek a High Court (pictured) quashing order and hope to halt the start of the scheme, due to begin next month.

The landlords claim the council did not comply with mandatory requirements in making its decision.

Legal papers from their solicitor suggest the authority relied on data regarding anti-social behaviour from other parts of the ward to justify licensing in Newport 1 and failed to consider alternatives to the scheme.

Waste time

One of the landlords, who did not want to be named, says: “Defending this at court will waste time and resources, and cost further public money. So many landlords are really sick of it. We are now issuing proceedings, which are already prepared, and we are not going to back off.”

The scheme has been running for several years in Newport and North Ormesby and has, according to the council, “led to great improvements to the areas”. However, the landlord questioned why the scheme, having been deemed a success, needed to be repeated at additional cost. The council has declined to comment on the legal challenge.

Under the scheme, landlords will need a plan in place to tackle anti-social tenants. The council has promised to provide advice and guidance on the conditions needed to get and keep a licence as well as supporting them to tackle anti-social behaviour and improve their management through training and hands-on help.

What is licensing?


Selective licensing