Licensing schemes to prevent rogue landlords operating in Luton postponed again
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Separate licensing schemes to prevent rogue landlords operating in Luton have been postponed again by the borough council, having faced various delays already.
The additional and selective licensing schemes were meant to be implemented from this week. But these regulations are now set to begin on February 5th next year, according to a social media post from the local authority.
Other setbacks to their introduction have included a legal challenge by a group of landlords and letting agents who got together and instructed a solicitor.
A property licence for all privately rented accommodation in five areas of the town was backed by its executive as long ago as January 2020.
Bringing in an additional licensing scheme across the town and a separate selective licensing scheme in South ward is set to cost the council between £30,000 and £50,000.
In its post on X, LBC said the start date, due to have been yesterday, (Mon 30th) will now be changed to February 5th 2024. “The mandatory house in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing scheme continues,” it explained.
“You’ll need a licence if you own or manage a property anywhere in Luton and it’s occupied by five or more persons, forming two or more households, who share common amenities such as a bathroom or kitchen.
“Additional licensing applies to all areas of Luton and means you’ll require a licence if you own or manage a property anywhere in Luton and it’s occupied by three or four persons, and it forms two or more households sharing common amenities such as a bathroom or kitchen.
“The selective licensing scheme applies to the town centre and Park Town areas of Luton.
“When the scheme is in force, having control of or managing a property let as residential accommodation without a licence shall be a criminal offence liable to prosecution and on summary conviction liable to a fine of an unlimited amount.”
The executive was told in April the schemes would cost landlords 80p a week over five years. Labour Challney councillor Tom Shaw said at the time: “Although the schemes are similar, they’re distinct and require separate consideration.
“As part of a wide strategy to improve housing conditions and drive up management standards through intervention and advocacy, the council will take enforcement action under the Housing Act 2004.
“This will ensure through licensing conditions that properties are properly managed to prevent further deterioration.
“One of the problems we’ve had is threats of legal challenge. This time we believe we’ve done everything necessary to contest any objection.”
The licensing scheme aims to supports the Luton 2040 vision and policies relating to housing, private sector enforcement, empty homes, anti-social behaviour and homelessness, according to portfolio holder for housing councillor Shaw.
“The scheme will contribute to the improved housing conditions, an increase in the number reaching the required standard and will give the council more confidence in the discharge of the homeless duty into the private sector,” he added.