A legal bid to stop Croydon Council’s plans to raise housing standards by licensing private landlords has been unsuccessful in the High Court.
At the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Thursday, Judge the Hon. Sir Stephen Silber QC refused an application by Croydon Property Forum to overturn the council scheme.
The applicants had argued at a full High Court hearing on Tuesday 4 August that the council had approved the scheme in March without taking “reasonable steps” to consult. However, the judge announced on Thursday morning that he had refused Croydon Property Forum’s application.
There are around 30,000 private rented properties in the borough, and the council developed the scheme to raise housing standards and tackle dodgy landlords who undercut their competitors on quality and price.
Any private landlord caught renting out a property without a licence from October will face fines of up to £20,000, while anyone breaking licence conditions can be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.
Following several months of consultation, the council’s cabinet approved the scheme in March in response to a rise in privately-rented properties, with negative consequences including antisocial behaviour and poor-quality homes.
“We always maintained that our landlord licensing scheme was robust and lawful, so we’re very pleased to hear the High Court has found in our favour.
“This scheme is important because raising housing standards and tackling antisocial behaviour is crucial to making Croydon a better place to live.
“We’ll continue to prepare for the licence’s launch on 1 October, and urge any landlords who haven’t yet taken advantage of our early bird discount fee to join the thousand who have.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning
More than 1,000 Croydon private landlords have already saved hundreds of pounds by taking advantage of an early-bird discounted licence on a total of more than 1,550 rented properties. Available since 1 July, this £350 discounted licence goes up to £750 per private rented property when the borough-wide scheme goes live on 1 October.
A typical licence lasts five years, so landlords qualifying for the £350 early-bird discount will pay the equivalent of 19p a day. Most landlords applying from October will pay a one-off £750, but those failing to meet their licence conditions may have to pay £750 each year. All applicants must prove they are fit and proper.
For more information or to apply for a licence, visit: www.croydon.gov.uk/betterplacetorent