GREAT Yarmouth Borough Council has been threatened with a judicial review by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), which has serious concerns over its selective licensing plans.
The authority is proposing to bring rented homes in parts of the Nelson electoral ward into the scope of selective licensing.
However, the RLA believes one of the conditions set to be imposed as part of the scheme is unlawful and has written to the council asking for urgent clarification.
The RLA believes the local authority’s plans to make it compulsory for landlords affected to join a ‘landlord support service’ run by a third-party delivery partner are unlawful.
While some councils do legitimately use delivery partners to administer and enforce schemes – notably in Doncaster and West Lindsey – these do not require landlords to become members of the partner organisation as a pre-condition of licensing.
The RLA believes the council has no power to impose such a condition – and pointed this out in its official response to the licensing consultation earlier this year.
In fact, the association believes existing rules do not even allow councils to ask whether landlords are members of such organisations.
RLA policy director David Smith said:
“We are asking for immediate clarification on the council’s position.
“If our understanding is correct we want the council to reconsider this aspect of the scheme and come up with a lawful alternative.
“If it will not we will move ahead and issue a claim for a judicial review on this basis.”
The local authority said that the upfront fee is £600 (inclusive of VAT) for the five-year licence.
Landlords could instead choose to pay an upfront fee of £90 and then a monthly fee of £9.50 plus VAT per month over the five years. Discounts are also available in certain circumstances.
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