City council threatened with legal action over plans to extend HMO licensing scheme

Local landlords have threatened legal action over City of York Council’s proposals for an extended licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

The council in March launched a consultation on an addition to its licensing scheme, which at present covers homes with five or more residents.

Proposals for the wider scheme would extend this to some 2,000 smaller homes in the eight electoral wards judged to have the strongest evidence of poorer housing conditions and management.

The council said landlords would benefit from “a level playing field, including being trained in property management which would also improve the quality and value of the property and encourage tenants to stay longer”.

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But York Residential Landlords Association has claimed the council’s proposals are unlawful as the consultation did not meet the standards required and the council lacked evidence for its proposals.

York’s director of housing, economy and regeneration Tracey Carter said: “We have received the letter which is being considered by our legal team.

“All views expressed through the consultation on our licensing proposal are welcomed and taken seriously.

“This is a statutory consultation which must seek views from all those who could be affected by the proposal including tenants of HMOs and other privately rented homes, landlords, businesses and relevant organisations including the NHS, Citizens’ Advice and the city’s universities.”

Mark Smulian

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