Landlords fail to de-rail Croydon’s licensing scheme

“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

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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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