Council Loses Permission for Property Licensing Scheme

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A City Council has lost permission to introduce a selective landlord licensing scheme that they were planning to introduce in the new year.

Brighton and Hove City Council were given permission by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in September to introduce the licensing scheme that was due to affect thousands of buy to let investment properties when introduced in February.

However, following opposition by local landlords in the south-east landlord association iHowz, the decision is now being reconsidered.

The association had written to both Brighton and Hove City Council and the Government describing the selective licensing scheme as unlawful.

A statement from iHowz said: ‘We took this action because we felt the decision to license some 27,000 rental properties was unlawful, unnecessary and not justified by the evidence provided, and would almost certainly lead to rent increases for many private sector tenants in Brighton.

‘Licensing was brought in in 2006 to allow local councils to control a small area of rental properties being poorly managed and bringing that area into disrepute. We support licensing when used for that purpose.

‘We cannot and have never supported the carte blanche licensing of large areas.

‘We have previously offered to work with the council to help improve rental conditions for private sector tenants in the city, improve property conditions in a cost-effective manner where required, and most importantly identify the possibility of criminal landlords, and we repeat that offer.’

Brighton and Hove City Council is now seeking clarification of why the permission has been revoked.

A spokesperson said: ‘We’re extremely surprised and disappointed by this decision. As a matter of urgency, we will be seeking further clarification from the Government as to why they have changed their position on this only weeks after approving our scheme.

‘The Government is still considering the case and we will of course assist them in any way we can.

Houses in Multiple Occupation schemes in the city continue as normal.