Luton Borough Council has announced details of a compulsory additional licensing scheme for every House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) situated within the borough, despite failing to provide evidence to support its plans.
The HMO Licences will be valid for five years from issue and the scheme will be phased in four stages, with the first phase beginning on 1st August 2013.
The council has warned that owners, who fail to acquire a license for their HMO property, may result in legal proceedings and risk facing a fine of up to £20,000.
Prior to the consultation in March, the RLA expressed significant concerns over the proposals for the licensing scheme, outlining a 34-point critique of Luton’s consultation document.
In a letter to Luton Borough Council, the RLA said: “The fact that the proposal is to extend the scheme to the whole of the Borough is of particular concern. The level of problems referred to do not in any way, in our view, justify the imposition of additional HMO licensing. The resulting bureaucratic procedures and costs would be totally dis-proportionate to the kind of issues referred to in the consultation.”
Luton failed to provide supporting evidence to justify the scheme, with the RLA still awaiting answers to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted over EIGHT weeks ago. The requests demanded information about crime directly linked to HMOs, the number of HMO landlord prosecutions, and the cost of the proposed scheme. With one of the main concerns raised by the RLA being that the consultation was a ‘charade’, believing the implementation of a licensing scheme to be premeditated, Luton’s failure to respond to these key questions is deeply concerning.
Demand on FOI response
The RLA is now chasing Luton for a response to its FOI request, but you can demand your own answers by downloading our template letter, filling in your details, and sending your own response to the council.
Send your completed letter to Luton Borough Council:
- By email: FOI@luton.gov.uk
- By post: Corporate information officer, Chief Executive’s Department, Luton Borough Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
- You can also submit your request online.