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Council facing judicial review over private sector licensing

Landlords have launched a legal challenge to plans by a local authority to charge for licences to manage properties.

The Croydon Guardian newspaper says Croydon council is facing a judicial review of its scheme after a group of businessmen - believed to be operating under the title of Crowdon Property Forum - filed papers with the High Court. 

Currently the licensing regime is set to be introduced in October; the authority took the decision in March following a three-month public consultation. 

As with so many recent licensing schemes, the private landlord will have to prove he or she is "fit and proper" for the role - and, perhaps most importantly for the council, each landlord will have to pay up to £750 for the licence.

Gavin Dick, local authority policy officer at the National Landlords Association, which has been advising the Croydon landlords, is quoted in the local newspaper as saying: "I don't think Croydon has an endemic anti-social behaviour problem across the entire borough and I don't think the council has demonstrated that being linked to the private rented sector. They have not answered that fundamental question."

Letting Agent Today has reported extensively on the ups and downs of Enfield council's decision to introduce a similar licensing scheme; it was quashed by the High Court in late 2014 following a judicial review instigated by just one landlord.

A Croydon council spokesman is quoted as saying: "We are confident that our landlord licensing scheme is robust, lawful and will raise housing standards across the borough, and we’ll continue preparing to launch this scheme from October 1."

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