Another controversial scheme licensing landlords who let their homes out may face legal challenge.
Middlesbrough council’s formal consultation on the introduction of selective licensing into the Newport areas of the town closed on January 28 and last week its preliminary findings were presented to the local authority.
As with other councils, this authority claimed the introduction of licensing would reduce anti-social behaviour and improve the quality of housing; the cost of licenses would be up to £750.
However, two local property firms may challenge the scheme if it gets the formal green light.
Local media say the firms - Jomast and Python Properties - have now formally objected to the plans and officers reported to councillors that the companies had written and stated "that the consultation process and the legal grounds for making the designation is flawed”.
A council report said: "They have suggested that they will legally challenge the scheme if it is approved.”
A representative from Jomast is quoted in the Teesside Gazette as saying: "I would say that the council's consultation process is open to severe criticism … The council appears to have consulted over a very large area - the whole of Newport ward. But there appears to be no specific evidence relating to the designated area where the council intends to roll-out Selective Landlord Licensing. Where is the evidence?
"It's as if the council is proceeding with all haste without engaging properly with the vast majority of private landlords who appear to be opposed to this proposal. Why doesn't the council just pause for a moment?”
And a Python Properties spokesperson is quoted saying: "Python Properties has been in Middlesbrough for 20 years. In all that time we have always had a good constructive relationship with Middlesbrough council. But I feel that on this occasion, that has not come through.
"I did not receive any formal response to the representations I made to the council - I had to ring them myself.”