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York landlord group says 'collaboration not conflict way forward on HMO licencing'

simpson licencing york hmos

York's Residential Landlords Association (York RLA) wants to clarify why it decided not to proceed with further legal action over the city council's proposals to bring in an Additional Licencing scheme for HMOs.

Both local media and LandlordZONE recently reported that it had decided not to proceed towards a Judicial Review of the council's HMO decision process.

Supported by property lawyer David Smith, it had hoped to shine a light on the council's attempts to bring in Additional Licencing.

The York RLA's Chair, Andy Simpson (main picture, inset), says he doesn't want local landlords to be misled and that his organisation 'weighed up our options at each stage of the legal process and made calculated decisions based on where our time and resources are best spent'�, he says.

'At the relevant milestone we did elect not to take the Additional Licensing decision towards a judicial review since City of York Council could still implement the scheme if it had lost.

Open mind

'However, we have kept an open mind on whether we need further support from David Smith as the scheme unfolds and develops. It might be that policy aspects or specific licensing decisions need a closer look in future.'�

Simpson says there has always been a '�feisty' relationship between landlords and the council in York and that rather than fight the scheme any further, look at whether there was an opportunity to change the culture and make the scheme work for both landlords, tenants, and the council.

Also, he says most of the technical points David Smith raised during the consultations were taken on board and talks since have been positive.

The York RLA says both it and York council have mutual aims, including:

  • Quality accommodation in York
  • Fair regulation for good landlords
  • A good working relationship between landlords and council

'We see our role as protecting the interests of the good landlords by ensuring the scheme is fair and focusing on helping landlords successfully obtain a license,'� adds Simpson, who says communications between the York RLA and council officials has already improved.

'We don't support licensing as an approach specifically. An accreditation scheme was our preference, but they are very difficult to fund, and landlords would only want to be regulated by one scheme, so we are looking to make this work.

'This more collaborative approach might be ambitious considering the reputation that property licensing schemes have around the country but in my view landlords and local authorities are caught up in an ongoing cycle of conflict and something needs to change as other approaches aren't working.'�

Read advice about licencing.


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