RLA force Nottingham City Council to remove Selective Licensing Conditions

RLA force Nottingham City Council to drop more Selective Licensing Conditions

At a packed Selective Licensing meeting of Nottingham letting agents David Hobbs – Operations Manager, Nottingham City Council announced that the council was dropping further requirements relating to EICR’s, EPC’s on exempt properties, additional insurance and inventory requirements.

This was following legal advice surrounding the Hyndburn Case and subsequent lobbying by the Residential Landlords Association.

The council wanted to introduce as part of the Selective Licensing conditions a requirement for landlords to get extra insurance to cover re-housing occupiers if the need arose. They also wanted property inventories and Electrical Installation Condition Reports but following further discussions and a detailed letter insinuating legal recourse by the RLA the council have now sensationally dropped those requirements.

However Mr Hobbs, Operations manager for the scheme, one of the largest outside London covering 32,000 properties spoke briefly about it to confirm that there is still a requirement for the property to have landlord insurance. And that the council would be operating a risk analysis of each property as part of the application process when determining which ones to inspect.

He went on to say that there is no longer a requirement to supply an EPC if the property is exempt, but that if landlords did not get an EPC and upload it at the application stage it would be viewed as a higher risk property and likely to be inspected. He confirmed that the same approach would be taken with EICR’s.

The scheme in Nottingham is scheduled to start on August 1st with applications opening on 1st July. We reported that the RLA had written to the council to present the case that these requirements were going beyond their powers and that selective licensing should not be used in this way.

NGalloway

Quick video explaining the scheme in Nottingham

We have reproduced some extracts from the RLA letter below.

Safety of Electrical Installations
Condition 6 states:
The licence holder shall ensure that the electrical installation in the house is kept safe and in proper working order at all times. The licence holder shall ensure that a satisfactory
Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) or Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) is
produced at intervals of no more than 5 years or more frequently if indicated on the previous report and supply the most recent EICR / EIC to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.
Section 90(1) Housing Act 2004 is clear that a licence “may include such conditions as the local authority consider appropriate for regulating the management, use or occupation of the house concerned.” In contrast to s67 Housing Act 2004, the equivalent provision in Part 2 of the Act, no mention is made in s90(1) HA of the use of conditions to regulate the “conditions and contents” of the property. This was emphasised
in the recent Court of Appeal case of Brown v Hyndburn Borough Council [2018] EWCA Civ 242
Energy Performance Certificates where the property is a listed building
The Council acknowledges that listed buildings are not required to have a EPC but states
that they will require one to be submitted with the licence application in any event. The
Council has no power to require landlords to produce documents that they are not legally
require d to obtain.
In summary, we consider that the above 3 licence application requirements are excessive
and unnecessarily onerous to landlords. We request that the Council reviews its proposed
application requirements and removes these documents from the list
of required
documents.

Condition 29 relating to insurance

This clause requires the landlord to ensure there is suitable and sufficient buildings insurance in place during the course of the licence which should cover the costs of re-housing occupiers in the event of the need arising.

As set out above in relation to the application requirements, there is no legal requirement for landlord to take out insurance and this is a matter of choice for each landlord. While we encourage landlords to take out insurance and most landlords do choose to, this is not compulsory for landlords and the Council has no power to require this by way of selective licence condition.

Furthermore, unless the landlord has covenanted to do so under the tenancy agreement a landlord is under no legal obligation to arrange temporary accommodation for a tenant even if the property is rendered uninhabitable as a result of some unforeseen event.

The Council cannot impose a condition compelling landlords to obtain insurance and we consider that this clause should be removed.

 

Condition 30 relating to carrying out an inventory

This condition requires an inventory to be carried out before a new tenancy is issued. Again,

there is no requirement on landlords to carry out an inventory and this a decision for the

landlord. Some landlords decide not to take deposits from tenants and/or licensees and they are entitled to take the view that an inventory is not required.

 

While we accept that an inventory is best practice and landlords should be encouraged to

complete one, the requirement imposed by the Council is outside the scope of its power to include conditions regulating the management use or occupation of the house concerned.

 

The purpose of an inventory is to regulate the condition and contents of the property and the Council has no power to impose conditions in relation to this.

 

We therefore consider that this condition should also be removed.

 

 

 

 

 

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