Landlords to Take Council to Court Over Student Housing Policy
Landlords are taking Nottingham City Council to court over new regulations for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) which they believe are not legal.
The City Council is being taken to court by Nottingham landlords over new regulations which are designed to make it harder to create and keep student houses. From January 1st, Nottingham Labour Council wants to force all student landlords to pay £910 to join an HMO accreditation scheme.
At the moment, as Nottingham Labour Councillors have confirmed, the City Council currently has a policy of rejecting all planning applications for HMOs. The Courts, however, overturn the vast majority of the planning decisions that are made and so now Nottingham City Council wants to introduce this new scheme to ‘regulate landlords and control the number of shared houses in the city’.
Although, the East Midlands Property Owners ltd. (EMPO) believe these new regulations are not legal and are therefore seeking a judicial review on them.
Giles Inman, the business development officer for EMPO, gave an example of one of the company’s landlords who “has 70 houses and the majority of these will be impacted upon by the additional licensing. This landlord is already accredited and already ascribes to the legislation required of him.
“From his point of view, there is very little this additional licensing is going to offer him other than a huge bill.”
Student Landlords feel that if this scheme goes ahead, they could be forced to sell houses or raise rents for students in order to be in the same financial position as before.
Landlords think Nottingham Labour Council will not stop rogue landlords with this scheme as all “additional licensing will mean good landlords will be facing extra expense to meet things they are already meeting through other accreditations.”
The Tab understands that the money collected from the accreditation scheme will not go to a scheme to clampdown on bad landlords.
Most of the information for this news comes from the November 2013 newsletter of the ‘Nottingham Action Group on HMOs’, known as NAG.
On the back of the NAG newsletter there is an article urging members ‘if you are being troubled by noise or anti-social behaviour’ caused by students to ‘report the problem to the police’. This article goes into detail about how the police could deal with anti-social noise from students.
Ultimately, if the noise is serious enough, the newsletter says there may be an ‘in-depth investigation, and substantive enforcement action (Court Orders)’.
NAG is run by Maya Fletcher, a Lenton resident who wants ‘to see a change in the law to give local authorities the power to control the spread of rented homes‘. NAG is also backed by the Nottingham Labour MPs Chris Leslie and Lillian Greenwood and many Nottingham Labour City Councillors, including Councillor Aslam, who said that it was ‘a shame students are allowed to live in Lenton’.
A City Council spokesman said: “Approval by our Executive Board means that, from next January, around 3,200 HMOs will be brought into the licensing scheme in some parts of the city where a significant proportion of HMOs have been identified as being poorly managed to the detriment of tenants or the public.
“The scheme will allow us to take a much more proactive approach to ensuring that HMOs in Nottingham are of an acceptable standard. Some HMO properties do not cause significant problems and so the scheme excludes larger accredited HMOs that comply with the ANUK / Unipol National Code of Standards for Larger Developments.
“Landlords will pay a licence application fee of £910 for up to a five-year period, reduced by £115 for good landlords already accredited to existing approved schemes and a further discount of £40 for subsequent applications, reducing the fee to £755. A consultation on the proposals, carried out in line with Government guidelines, showed that 65% of the online contributions and half of the written submissions supported the scheme.”