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Bid to overturn council licensing scheme fails

A bid to take Rotherham council to a judicial review over a selective licensing scheme for private sector landlords has failed.

All privately rented properties in the centre of Rotherham, Dinnington and parts of Maltby will have to have a five-year licence, costing up to £625, as part of the scheme which the council claims to improve standards in the private rental sector. 

Rotherham Action Group - a company formed by a group of landlords in the town - had  challenged the scheme but its application was dismissed after a judge claimed the council acted “rationally and proportionately” by deciding to introduce the scheme. The landlords are now faced with paying the council’s costs of £23,128.

The ruling means landlords of all privately rented properties within the identified areas must obtain a licence for each property they own. Licenses will last for a five year period and cost a maximum of £605, with reductions for accredited landlords who have already had their properties fully checked for safety.

Back in December Enfield council’s licensing scheme in north London was quashed by the High Court following a judicial review of the type denied in Rotherham. In Enfield, a single landlord took legal action; that led to the council being accused of failing to consult the appropriate people for an appropriate time before attempting to introduce the licensing.

  • Kenny Sahota

    Seems fair enough in this case, but makes me a little nervous that this sort of thing will start happening elsewhere. All it will serve to do is put landlords off entering the market.

    Too often landlords are made scapegoats for bad housing, when it most cases this doesn't play out in reality. It's a media myth that is lapped up by the public.

    In this case, Rotherham Council does seem to have had legitimate reasons to bring in this licensing scheme. But let's be careful not to tar all landlords with the same broad brush.

  • Tom  Harrington

    In this case, yes, the council have every right to introduce such a scheme. If the accommodation on offer isn't up to standard, then it's only proper that steps are taken to rectify that.

    But I share your concerns, Kenny, that all landlords will be tarred with the same brush and schemes like this will become mandatory. This will only deter prospective landlords from entering the market - which, with more people renting for the long-term, is something we could do without.

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