Landlord edges up against council in legal court battle over licensing

A landlord is going ahead with his legal challenge to a local authority’s licensing scheme after the Court of Appeal strengthened the existing judicial review.

Last month, Mr Justice Ouseley permitted the judicial review against Enfield Council’s plans to proceed only on one part, known as “additional licensing”. This is the part of the scheme that covers all shared privately rented property in the borough.

The judge refused permission on the “selective licensing” part, which covers single household privately rented property across the borough.

However, Lord Justice Lewison at the Court of Appeal has now said that a challenge to selective licensing is “arguable” and that it should be added to the existing judicial review.

The case being brought by Constantinos Regas is due to be heard in the High Court next Wednesday, November 26.

Despite this, Enfield Council’s cabinet has ratified its decision to proceed with additional licensing. Regas, who owns just one property, was at the meeting and asked the councillors why they were proceeding with a scheme that the judge had described as “arguably unlawful”.

Regas also read out a submission made by Enfield Council to the House of Commons CLG Select Committee inquiry into the private rented sector in January 2013, when the council rejected the idea of licensing.

In a room filled with landlords, he asked the cabinet to reconsider the whole scheme. He said: “We shouldn’t even be in court. Let’s press the reset button on all of this and get landlords and the council in a room to work out together how we can address these issues properly, without a licensing scheme.”

After the meeting, Regas said: “I have always said that I believe that good housing conditions are a human right.

“But I object to the sustained demonisation of private tenants as ‘anti-social’ and the council’s desperate cherry-picking of data to try and back up its argument.

“We all want good standards but the council has not engaged with us or listened to us all these months. They should exercise their existing statutory duties to enforce against rogue landlords and antisocial behaviour.

“This licensing scheme is bad for landlords and bad for tenants and has made a mockery of democracy.”

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “Enfield Council remains committed to vigorously defending any challenge to plans to introduce much needed licensing of the private rented sector.

“We have been successful once in court and our expert independent legal advice is that we will be again.”

The Campaign Against Landlord Licensing in Enfield is crowdfunding the judicial review.

2 Comments

  1. MF

    Good for you. Mr Regas.

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  2. Will

    Well Done Mr Regas you have so much more support than you will ever realise. A TRUE MODERN DAY DAVID against the ENFIELD GOLIATH! If only ALL private landlords refused housing benefit tenants it would bring these over enthusiastic authorities to their knees. Council mentality is such they just can't see the bigger picture. Tenant's will face higher rents or investors will leave the market either way it is bad for tenants, bad for councils and bad for the government as it will increase their housing crisis. It is a statistical fact that there is a higher satisfaction in the private rented sector than the social housing sector so may be councils(and HA's) should get their own houses in order first.

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