Landlords fail in court bid for review of licensing plan

Rotherham Borough Council election count, pictured is Denise Lelliott, Labour, winning candidate for Rother Vale ward with her supporters (w120504-6i)
Rotherham Borough Council election count, pictured is Denise Lelliott, Labour, winning candidate for Rother Vale ward with her supporters (w120504-6i)
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Landlords have failed in their bid to take Rotherham Council to a judicial review over a selective licensing scheme.

All privately rented properties in the centre of Rotherham, Dinnington and parts of Maltby will have to have a five-year licence, costing up to £625, as part of the scheme.

The council said the scheme will help drive up the standards of privately rented accommodation.

However, Rotherham Action Group, a company formed by a group of landlords, challenged the scheme and applied for a judicial review.

Their application was dismissed by a judge at Leeds Combined Court after he found the council had acted rationally and proportionately by deciding to introduce selective licensing in the areas in question.

RAG was ordered to pay the council’s costs of £23,128.

The ruling means landlords of all privately rented properties within the identified areas must obtain a licence for each property they own.

Licenses will last for a five year period and cost a maximum of £605, with reductions for accredited landlords who have already had their properties fully checked for safety.

Landlords who fail to comply with the licensing conditions can be fined, face rent repayment orders or the potential for the douncil to take over the running of property, at direct cost to the landlord.

Coun Denise Lelliott, council advisory cabinet member for housing and the local economy, welcomed the court decision.

She said the move would allow the authority to move ahead in improving the standard of private rented housing within the areas concerned.

Coun Lelliott said: “A selective licensing scheme is not only for the benefit of tenants and landlords, but all residents within these areas.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision and are grateful the actions of the council have had the opportunity to be independently assessed in this manner.”

Landlords should apply for licences as soon as possible by visiting www.rotherham.gov.uk/landlordlicensing