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Illegal! - trade body says council's licensing plan breaks the law

The Residential Landlords’ Association says proposals from Great Yarmouth council to introduce selective licensing in one part of the town contains several illegal elements.

Under Section 80 of the Housing Act 2004 the council wants to bring parts of the Nelson electoral ward into the scope of selective licensing, starting on December 14 this year and lasting for five years.

However, the RLA has objected to the council - as part of its formal consultation process over the proposal - about plans to use a delivery support partner, to operate a landlord support service.

If the scheme is approved the council would expect landlords to apply for a licence and also join the Landlord Support Service; the RLA is concerned that membership appears to be compulsory with no reference to any alternative method of licensing directly with the council.

In its consultation response, the RLA also says that it believes requiring landlords to pay fees to a third party, distinct from the council, in order to obtain a licence, is unlawful.

In addition to this, the council intends to appoint only one delivery partner, which means that landlords have no choice of provider, while no competition for providing the scheme services does not represent best value for either the council or landlords. 

The RLA also says that the council is requiring landlords to join a scheme and pay fees which incur VAT, in order for them to obtain a licence. 

“This is in effect charging VAT on licensing fees, which the RLA believe to be unlawful” the association says on its website.

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