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  • FIRST POST
    • JMLONDON
    • By JMLONDON 13th Oct 18, 12:41 PM
    • 4Posts
    • 0Thanks
    JMLONDON
    Private Rented Property Licensing Issue
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 18, 12:41 PM
    Private Rented Property Licensing Issue 13th Oct 18 at 12:41 PM
    Hi there.
    I have a flat which i started renting in May this year to a tenant who applied for Housing Benefit and is recieving this from Waltham Forest Council.He told me he was doing this and i had no issue with it. Yesterday after being on holiday i received a letter from the council stating i would have to apply for a private rental property license because i was renting the flat.This will cost 650 quid apparently but my issue with the situation is they never told me at the beginning when i rented the flat that i would have to do this! Even worse my tenant had said he now has to leave the flat ASAP due to family matters which isn't. a big deal because i will keep his deposit in lieu of notice but i am worried that the council will still try and stick for the fee even though i no longer have a tenant and will now be moving back into the property.I am going to try and get help from the citizen's advice but any info or views you guys have will also be most helpful!
    Hopefully thanks in advance
    Andrew
Page 1
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 13th Oct 18, 12:58 PM
    • 13,346 Posts
    • 19,224 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 18, 12:58 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 18, 12:58 PM
    Hi there.
    I have a flat which i started renting in May this year to a tenant who applied for Housing Benefit and is recieving this from Waltham Forest Council.He told me he was doing this and i had no issue with it. Yesterday after being on holiday i received a letter from the council stating i would have to apply for a private rental property license because i was renting the flat.This will cost 650 quid apparently but my issue with the situation is they never told me at the beginning when i rented the flat that i would have to do this! Even worse my tenant had said he now has to leave the flat ASAP due to family matters which isn't. a big deal because i will keep his deposit in lieu of notice but i am worried that the council will still try and stick for the fee even though i no longer have a tenant and will now be moving back into the property.I am going to try and get help from the citizen's advice but any info or views you guys have will also be most helpful!
    Hopefully thanks in advance
    Andrew
    Originally posted by JMLONDON
    It was down to you to do your research before you started letting the property. 650 for a licence is the least of your worries. You committed a criminal offence by the letting the property without a licence so you could be prosecuted and fined a lot more than 650.

    https://walthamforest.gov.uk/content/private-rented-property-licensing

    That said I've yet to hear of any council with mandatory licencing prosecute a landlord for illegally letting a property.
    • Balabalabala and Volare
    • By Balabalabala and Volare 13th Oct 18, 5:59 PM
    • 960 Posts
    • 943 Thanks
    Balabalabala and Volare
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 18, 5:59 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 18, 5:59 PM
    That said I've yet to hear of any council with mandatory licencing prosecute a landlord for illegally letting a property.
    Originally posted by Pixie5740
    FYI......
    https://news.leeds.gov.uk/fourth-landlord-prosecuted-over-selective-licensing-failure/
    https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/news/business/first-successful-prosecutions-for-landlords-flouting-selective-licensing-rules/
    https://www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/landlord-prosecution-casts-spotlight-application-selective-licensing-self-contained-flats
    https://www.dashservices.org.uk/News/four-landlords-fined-total-of-%C2%A3232-000-for-flouting-licensing-laws
    https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2018/2/landlords-fined-for-flouting-selective-licensing-scheme
    https://www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/my-council/council-news/three-landlords-prosecuted-for-selective-licensing-offences/
    • G_M
    • By G_M 13th Oct 18, 6:06 PM
    • 46,145 Posts
    • 55,825 Thanks
    G_M
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 18, 6:06 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 18, 6:06 PM
    So you started up your business without first learning what is involved?

    You do realise you also have to pay tax? And have a gas safety report? And an EPC? and about 101 other things...?

    It was your responsibility to comply with the law when you started your business, not their responsibility to list all the obligations (of which licencing is just one).

    The CAB is primarily there to help consumers (in this case, the tenant), not business owners. By all means ask them, but they may turn you away.

    Which Landlords Association did you join? They should advise you.
    Last edited by G_M; 13-10-2018 at 8:20 PM.
    • JMLONDON
    • By JMLONDON 13th Oct 18, 7:41 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    JMLONDON
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:41 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:41 PM
    Hi there.

    Thank you for your replies and the links attached i guess that's me told and obviously plenty of food for thought!
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 13th Oct 18, 8:04 PM
    • 9,282 Posts
    • 9,895 Thanks
    davidmcn
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 18, 8:04 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 18, 8:04 PM
    Having said all that, I can't see it being at all likely that anyone would pursue prosecution of a landlord who is no longer letting any properties.
    • Lost Property
    • By Lost Property 13th Oct 18, 8:19 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Lost Property
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 18, 8:19 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 18, 8:19 PM
    Your Council sounds pretty vexatious.

    What will really irk you is that many Councils only license certain HMOs if they have more than 4 tenants, but to chase non-compliant LLs they fail to notice numbers of registered electors, fail to get tip-offs from bin-men about untidy gardens and obviously tenants have no incentive to tip them off as even the roguest of LLs can gain the right to legitimately issue S21s against such law-conscious tenants just by applying for the licence, even if later rejected.

    When such Councils eventually get round to checking these properties there has normally been enough time to "persuade" sufficient tenants to leave so that a licence looks like it was never required. The punishment if eventually caught has simply been to be told to apply for the licence retrospectively. So the honest LLs that applied early get hounded for five years about safety measures, enforcement being funded by the fee they've all paid, whilst the dodgy LLs saving all those extra costs stay under the radar hoping to get past the five-year mark, knowing the worst that is likely to happen if discovered needing a licence is simply being told to go and get one.
    • DottieDam
    • By DottieDam 13th Oct 18, 9:25 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    DottieDam
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 18, 9:25 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 18, 9:25 PM
    It's been a while since I rented in England so I may be wrong but I thought you would need a landlord registration number to deposit your tenants deposit?

    If you didn't do this and he gets the right advice I wouldn't count on being able to keep the deposit. You were after all letting the house illegally.
    • Balabalabala and Volare
    • By Balabalabala and Volare 13th Oct 18, 11:01 PM
    • 960 Posts
    • 943 Thanks
    Balabalabala and Volare
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 18, 11:01 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 18, 11:01 PM
    Having said all that, I can't see it being at all likely that anyone would pursue prosecution of a landlord who is no longer letting any properties.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    I wouldn't bet on that. It's pretty much a slam-dunk for the LA. They have all the evidence they need. Selective licensing in place - Check. Evidence of let via copy of the tenancy agreement - Check. Landlord made aware of requirements and given the opportunity to comply - Check.

    My advice to OP is to seek legal advice.... which will be to cough up and smile.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 14th Oct 18, 5:08 PM
    • 38,269 Posts
    • 160,897 Thanks
    silvercar
    Having said all that, I can't see it being at all likely that anyone would pursue prosecution of a landlord who is no longer letting any properties.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    I agree. The council's have enough trouble trying to keep up with processing registrations and chasing those that haven't registered. I doubt they have the resources to chase up those that used to rent out properties.

    It's been a while since I rented in England so I may be wrong but I thought you would need a landlord registration number to deposit your tenants deposit?
    Originally posted by DottieDam
    Wrong. The 3 deposit schemes do not interact with the council registration schemes.

    If you didn't do this and he gets the right advice I wouldn't count on being able to keep the deposit. You were after all letting the house illegally.
    Whether you can keep the deposit will depend on the arbitration of the deposit scheme. It won't depend on the registration. I doubt a tenant can take you to court for not licencing, that would be for the council to do.
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