A First Tier Property Tribunal has slammed Nottingham Council for covering large swathes of the city with licensing schemes rather than targeting rogue landlords, a 'temptation' it says is faced by other local authorities.
Justice for Tenants brought a case on behalf of a tenant couple who applied for a �12,946 Rent Repayment Order after they discovered the property in St Jude's Avenue (main picture) did not have a licence. However, the tribunal reduced the award to 90% and criticised 'blanket schemes'.
After ruling that the offence of not having a selective licence was not unduly serious on its own 'when taking account of the range of potential offences such as harassment or unlawful eviction'� the tribunal at first reduced the award to 40%.
However, it added: 'We are also concerned that Nottingham City Council appears to have imposed a selective licensing regime over a substantial part of its area rather than targeting particular areas where problems of poor housing and anti-social behaviour are found.
'We are concerned that local authorities adopting this approach may be tempted to regard the licensing regulations as being a regular source of income rather than dealing with the issues for which they were intended.'�
The landlord, Mrs French, explained that the scheme had not been in place when she first let the house in 2017, that she had kept it well maintained, had not increased the rent for years and had been living in America during the time.
Taking the landlord's financial circumstances into account '� less than �2,000 in savings '� and the fact she had only rented out the property for 41 months due to a move abroad for her husband's work, the tribunal reduced the award to �774.
It added: 'The purpose of a rent repayment order is to deter landlords from unlawful action and to prevent repeat offences'�she is not letting property at the moment and there is little chance that she will do so in the foreseeable future.'�