Campaigns East Midlands Local Government

Great Yarmouth licensing consultation proposals ‘unlawful’ – RLA

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

Several of the proposals that have been included in Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s plans to introduce selective licensing in the Nelson area of the town are unlawful-the RLA is warning in its consultation response on the plans.

Under Section 80 of the Housing Act 2004, Great Yarmouth Borough Council is proposing to bring parts of the Nelson electoral ward into the scope of selective licensing. It is proposed that this would happen on the 14th December 2018, lasting for five years.

However, in a letter to the Council which you can read here, the RLA has expressed concern about the plans to use a delivery support partner, to operate a landlord support service.

‘Landlord Support Service’

As part of this selective licensing proposal, upon designation landlords would be required to apply for a licence AND join the Landlord Support Service, through the Delivery Partner’s website.

However, the RLA is concerned that membership of this support scheme appears to be compulsory, and there is no reference to any alternative method of licensing directly with the council.

In its consultation response, the RLA also says that it believes requiring landlords to pay fees to a third party, distinct from the council, in order to obtain a licence, is unlawful.

In addition to this, the council intends to appoint only one delivery partner, which means that landlords have no choice of provider, and also no competition for providing the scheme services does not represent best value for either the council or landlords. 

Charging VAT

In the letter responding to the consultation, the RLA also says that the council is requiring landlords to join a scheme and pay fees which incur VAT, in order for them to obtain a licence. This is in effect charging VAT on licensing fees, which the RLA believe to be unlawful.

In general, the RLA is opposed to selective licensing because it believes that good, law abiding landlords have to pay for often costly licenses in order to comply, yet criminal landlords continue to operate below the radar.

The alternative to licensing

The consultation response concludes by the RLA suggesting an alternative to licensing; that the council should instead use cross-departmental and multi-agency working, and effective use of existing housing legislation in order to support tenants and landlords in maintaining tenancies, housing condition and management standards.

Have your say

Will you be affected by this selective licensing scheme being introduced? This consultation closes on 24th August 2018. To have your say and share your views, information on how to do this is available on the council’s website.

Find out more
  • Do you know about any licensing consultations in your local area? The RLA aim to respond to selective licensing consultations, so if you are aware of any then please email campaigns@rla.org.uk
  • To learn more about Selective Licensing including why it is introduced in some areas, have a read of our useful guides.
  • The Government recently announced a review into Selective Licensing. You can read more about this here 

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

With a degree in Journalism, she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and creating social media content.

Before joining the RLA, Victoria worked in the University of Salford’s press office, and during University she represented Smooth Radio at events across the North West, as a member of the street team.

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