“I am quite satisfied that the council complied with
its duty to take reasonable steps to consult with
local people to be affected by the designation,
including developers and landlords.”
So reported BBC News yesterday after High Court Judge the Hon. Sir Stephen Silber QC gave his findings on the case he heard on 4 August on Croydon Property Forum’s application that the Council not acted reasonably in its consultation on the proposed selective landlord licensing scheme.
The Forum can apply by Tuesday to the Judge for permission to appeal. It is trying to raise money to cover its additional legal fees.
The Forum says it includes small Croydon landlords, letting agents and developers. On 5 July The Croydon Advertiser reported that ‘It is not clear who is behind Croydon Property Forum. Mandy Thomson . … said she had offered support to the group, adding they wished to remain anonymous.’ Thomson is a landlord based in North London who has been keeping up the attack on the scheme on the social network Streetlife website including that covering Norbury.
The Forum is holding a public meeting on 20 August at 7pm at East Croydon United Reform Church in Addiscombe Grove at which it will report on the legal developments, and seek support for further action. http://www.croydonpropertyforumltd.com
This vindication of the Council’s consultation, one of the most advertised of any of its consultations, and particularly directed at landlords and letting agents, is good news in the growing fight to curb the worst excesses of private landlords.
Since 1 July over 1,000 sensible landlords letting property in Croydon have already saved hundreds of pounds by taking advantage of the early-bird discounted licence on a total of more than 1,550 rented properties. This £350 discounted licence goes up to £750 per private rented property when the borough-wide scheme goes live on 1 October.
Most landlords applying from 1 October will pay a one-off £750, but those failing to meet their licence conditions may have to pay £750 each year. All applicants must prove they are fit and proper.
Any private landlord caught renting out a property without a licence from October will face fines of up to £20,000, while anyone breaking licence conditions can be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.
The council’s Cabinet approved the scheme in March in response to a rise in privately-rented properties, with negative consequences including anti-social behaviour and poor-quality homes. It was reviewed by the Scrutiny Committee which did not ask for a re-think.
My evidence to the Council consultation, which I also submitted as ‘The Problems of Private Landlordism’ to the Croydon Opportunity & Fairness Commission can be seen at C:/Users/Sean/Downloads/private-landlords-from-sean-creighton.pdf
Further details of the scheme can be seen at www.croydon.gov.uk/betterplacetorent
The Council press release on the Court outcome can be seen at: http://news.croydon.gov.uk/high-court-backs-croydon-landlord-licensing-scheme