The East Midlands Property Owners (EMPO) organisation will this week respond to Nottingham City Council’s decision to introduce in January 2014 a new landlord licensing scheme with a pre-action letter threatening a judicial review.
Nottingham City Council’s additional licensing scheme designed to tackle anti-social behaviour will affect houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) – properties that are rented out to three or more unrelated people. The scheme will be applied to a widespread area of the city, a total of 11 wards out of 20 affecting a total of 3,500 homes.
Giles Inman, spokesperson for EMPO explains: “We believe that there are strong grounds for a judicial review against Nottingham City Council that’s why we have decided to take this first important step this week as we believe the legislation will penalise thousands of landlords and tenants.
Local landlord, Matthew Buxton, comments: “like thousands of good landlords in Nottingham I’m accredited with both UNIPOL and DASH and the new Nottingham Standard, which is the council’s own accreditation scheme. My properties (and many others) meet all the conditions the council states that their scheme recognises. It isn’t clear therefore to me who will benefit from my fees other than the council themselves in increased revenue.”
Giles Inman, continues: “the scheme is discriminating against good landlords while a minority of criminal landlords will fail to comply at all with licensing, enabling them to offer cheaper rental properties. Therefore driving more tenants into the arms of the very rogue landlords the scheme is supposed to protect!”
“It seems that rather than dealing with rogue landlords, the council just wants to introduce more red tape. They would prefer to see all landlords have to fill out a 30 page application form than actually take action against poor housing standards. The level of fee is three times higher that charged by most other authorities and it’s clear to see who is benefitting most from this plan. It isn’t the tenants that they say they want to protect – it’s just a money making scheme!
“The council’s criteria for establishing its designated ‘problem’ wards for example, is definitely not the norm, the ‘test’ by the council is identifying areas having at least 10 non licensable HMOs where just 20 per cent of these properties have received one complaint over a five year period – this under no circumstances satisfy the statutory requirements of section 56 of the 2004 Housing Act.
“Given also that the council has advocated greater rent controls and Derby City Council has rejected licensing as a viable option, we are surprised that they are creating an environment that will inevitably lead to rent increases. The cost of the actual licensing is set at £910 for a five year license – up to three times more than most other councils.
“We believe that the process adopted by NCC to justify licensing is unlawful and it is being driven in the context of reducing the numbers of HMOs that operate in the city. This point was reinforced by recent press comments from Councillor Mohammad Aslam suggesting ‘the city council has a specific policy not to allow students to live outside halls’.”
EMPO represents over 500 professional landlords across Nottingham, Derby and Leicester for more information on EMPO visit www.empo.co.uk
Based in Nottingham, EMPO is the largest landlords association in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. It represents professional landlords with residential property to rent in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.
East Midlands Property Owners seeks to promote sound management and acceptable standards of accommodation in the private rented sector.