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RLA responds to Waltham Forest selective licensing plan

RLA
Written by RLA

The RLA has received confirmation of the response to another selective licensing scheme proposal, this time in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

The RLA has submitted its response to another selective licensing scheme proposal, this time in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

The RLA is against selective licensing in most instances and the reasoning behind the Waltham Forest proposals were deemed unsatisfactory in the eyes of the Association.  Waltham Forest Council argue that the scheme should be brought in to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) and improve housing and managing standards within the private rented sector (PRS).

However, as a House of Commons library paper explains, private landlords are not liable for their tenants’ behaviour; and the RLA finds it difficult to support measures that do not adequately support landlords to eradicate anti-social behaviour in their properties where it exists. Furthermore, Waltham Forest’s attempts to link anti-social behaviour with private rented sector was tenuous in the extreme, and simply acknowledged the council’s failure to tackle anti-social behaviour across the entire borough.

You can download and view the RLA response to Waltham Forest Council’s proposals here.

Many similarities arise within the Waltham Forest consultation that we have seen before in places such as Burnley, where the council will charge hundreds of pounds to private landlords for the ability to operate their accommodation on a five-year basis. However, Waltham Forest Council stated that any applicants that are “…landlords with previous management contraventions or are of concern” will only be eligible for a one year licence, but at the full costing.

The RLA is against this and refers to the case of  Hemming (t/a Simply Pleasure) Limited v Westminster City Council court of Appeal case and the European Service Directive (ESD). The case mandates it is not permissible for a council to make a profit on costs of licences. This means that a council can only charge the actual administrative cost of processing licence applications.

Other concerns include:

  • With the high level of licence fees, costs could be passed down onto the tenants.
  • We believe that whilst the vast majority of good landlords will register, a small, but significant, number of criminal landlords will still operate under the radar without being licensed – proof that the scheme has failed both the majority of good landlords and tenants as well.

In the meantime, the RLA urges members and its wider audience to be vigilant of local councils and authorities trying to put through schemes that could potentially impact your operations.

The Association will do its best to provide support and guidance where appropriate. Contact RLA Campaigns today if you are aware of proposals that we should be monitoring.

Further information

About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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  • Landlord licensing scheme has been rejected in Enfield.

    This must now surely set a precedence for Waltham Forest?

    The high court rejected the scheme.

    It was similar to Waltham Forest in that the cost was £500 over 5 years for each property. Non-registration came with a £20,000 fine.

    Please have a look at the link from the Enfield Independent:
    http://m.enfieldindependent.co.uk/news/11661487.Landlord_licensing_scheme_quashed_in_judicial_review/

    Surely, we can approach the same judge who rejected the Enfield council scheme and get the Waltham Forest Scheme rejected too?

  • Hi I am a Waltham Forest Landlord. I am disturbed by the licensing scheme for landlords and hope that Watlham Forest will take note of the judgment against Enfield Council following the judicial review stating that the scheme is unlawful.

    As it states it is an unlawful attempt to criminalise landlords.

    Perhaps we could petition them to abandon it.

    Jenny Fensham

    • Jenny Fensham….I too am a Waltham Forest Landlord and my letting agency has just sent me a letter informing me the Council is going ahead with the policy and that I should take advantage of the early bird registration – 50% off if I register by end of March 2015.
      Having looked at the Enfield successful challenge and Milton Keynes scrapping the idea – I’d like to find a protest group which I could join up to challenge this using the same route as for Enfield.
      Would the Waltham Forest Landlords (WFL) campaign group be the one to get on board.
      I’ve also asked my letting agency why they along with other agencies have not challenged the Council.

  • The LBWF license appears to not apply to to landlords with a single property.:

    is that correct as it is not mentioned in the faqs or the list exemptions?

    if so would that help or hinder them enforce their plans?

    • Hi John,

      That doesn’t sound right. Please see: http://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/pages/services/sl-selective-licensing.aspx

      The page states: “This means that from 1st April 2015 owners of every privately rented home in the borough must apply for a Private Rented Property Licence (PRPL), to be issued by the Council, unless an exemption applies.”

      There is nothing in the exemptions that allows private landlords with just one property not to apply for a licence. We strongly suggest that you do so, the early bird rates are available until June.

      RLA Campaigns

  • I am a landlord with a property in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Their new selective licensing scheme applying to the whole borough forces landlords to pay £500 per property s an absolute disgrace. I most strongly disapprove as I believe that these schemes can only be introduced in areas of high ASB or of low housing demand. Neither apply to Waltham Forest. I am prepared to pay this blackmail fee of £500 in order not be categorised as “a bad landlord”, but registration has to be done via the Council website and the fee paid online. The Council will not accept registration nor payment by any other means, and has emailed and told me so. The website has problems most of the time, and when it does not I still find it impossible to proceed. What can we do about this – and is there a Waltham Forest landlords group that can take action ?

    Thabnnks

    John

    • Hi John. I, too am a landlady in Waltham Forest and aS lot unaware of this new scheme. I am having great difficulties applying for the licence as the WF website is virtually impossible to navigate and keeps crashing! Did you manage to get a licence?

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