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Landlords fail in bid for judicial review of licensing scheme

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A legal bid to stop a London council introducing a borough-wide licensing scheme for private sector landlords has failed in the High Court.

As reported by LGC last month, Croydon LBC faced a judicial review after a group of anonymous landlords called the ‘Croydon Property Forum’ brought a case against the council for introducing a selective licensing scheme.

They argued the south London borough had not taken “reasonable steps” to consult.

Selective licensing schemes require private landlords to pay for a licence for each property that they let within a designated area.

Those with previous convictions in relation to violence, fraud or abuse of tenants’ rights are barred.

Enforcement officers can take action when properties are managed poorly or the source of anti-social behaviour.

Croydon introduced its scheme just before the previous government rushed through legislation in April which made it harder for large-scale schemes to be introduced.

Councils now require the communities secretary’s approval when proposals cover more than 20% of a borough’s geographical area or affect more than 20% of privately rented homes within their boundaries.

Judge Sir Stephen Silber QC yesterday refused the Croydon Property Forum’s application for a judicial review.

In a statement Alison Butler (Lab), Croydon’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning, said: “We always maintained that our landlord licensing scheme was robust and lawful, so we’re very pleased to hear the High Court has found in our favour.”

Croydon is home to around  30,000 private rented properties.

According to the council,  more than 1,000 landlords had already signed up to the selective licensing scheme which is due to go live in October.

 

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