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Solicitor warns of legal problems over councils' selective licensing

A leading property solicitor says there are “secret dangers” to landlords and their letting agents when it comes to selective licensing systems introduced by several councils across the UK.

Writing in the property magazine Estate Gazette, Joanne Mills - a solicitor at law practice Irwin Mitchell - says many landlords are inadvertently flouting local council selective licensing regimes because there is relatively little publicity given to the rules, and because the precise regulations vary from council to council.

She says there are particular problems if a landlord who - unwittingly - has not secured the licence that is required, then goes on to issue a Section 21 eviction notice which may then be questioned because of the absence of a licence.

“This makes it difficult for a landlord to physically regain possession of a property, which may be required for genuine reasons. A landlord may end up having to retrospectively apply for a licence, delaying possession by months” she writes.

“Whether a landlord would be liable for a fine in such circumstances remains to be seen” she adds.

Mills warns that with so little information made available about many council selective licensing schemes, and an absence of a central register, landlords can easily fall foul of the law.  

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    This whole 'game' needs bringing under control. As a landlord I think constantly messing about with other peoples property ownership is taking liberties are just plain interference in other peoples business. There are already health and safety rules to handle bad landlords and the new council dictats and penalty systems are dangerous empire building for the most part.

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