Landlords face problems in relation to licensing rules

Des Taylor, a director of Landlord Licensing & Defence, has raised concerns regarding the risks landlords face in relation to licensing rules. His main concerns are:

  1. Risk of Criminal Prosecution: According to Des Taylor, landlords are at risk of criminal prosecution for breaches of licensing rules that are often deemed “unreasonable and beyond their control.” He argues that despite the introduction of the Renters Reform Bill and the landlord portal, there is continued focus on licensing, with new schemes being implemented in various city areas.
  2. Double Jeopardy and Entrapment Concerns: Taylor suggests that licensing conditions pose a risk of double jeopardy enforcement, and landlords may face challenges related to entrapment, especially when it comes to activities beyond their control, such as a tenant’s anti-social behavior outside the premises.
  3. Importance of Complying with License Conditions: The director advises landlords, especially those applying for licenses for the first time, to thoroughly check and read the conditions to ensure compliance. He emphasizes that compliance is crucial because not adhering to the conditions can be considered a criminal offense.
  4. Notice of Intent to Grant a Licence: Taylor highlights the significance of the Notice of Intent to Grant a Licence, stating that landlords have the legal opportunity to make representations within a minimum of 14 days. He underscores the importance of contesting conditions with which landlords disagree during this period.
  5. Culpability of Landlords and Managing Agents: Taylor notes that if landlords have managing agents and they fail to comply with the conditions, both parties may be held culpable. Accepting all the conditions without contesting them through representation can lead to enforcement as a criminal offense by the local housing authority.
  6. Increased Enforcement Against Licensing Conditions: The director claims that his service is witnessing more enforcements against licensing conditions as landlords unknowingly break the rules due to a failure to check and understand them.
  7. Questioning the Effectiveness of Licensing Schemes: Taylor questions the effectiveness of licensing schemes, stating that there is no evidence that such schemes achieve the promised outcomes. He questions why the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, continues to support these schemes, especially when there may be little or no achievement of the intended goals.
  8. Revenue for Councils: Taylor suggests that, in some cases, licensing schemes primarily result in revenue for local councils through licensing fees and enforcement actions, without necessarily achieving the desired outcomes.

In summary, the information indicates concerns about the impact of licensing conditions on landlords, with a focus on potential legal risks, enforcement actions, and doubts about the effectiveness of such schemes.

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