The National Landlords Association (NLA) has written to all local authorities in England after recent court judgements have clarified issues over the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and how local licensing fees should be determined.
The action was taken after the outcomes from three specific judgments involving English local authorities. Importantly, the rulings mean that many landlords may have been wrongly charged licensing fees and could be entitled to refunds.
In the wake of the rulings the NLA is asking all local authorities in England to contact any affected landlords, informing them of their right to appropriate refunds and providing details of how they may make a claim.
Richard Lambert, chief executive officer at the NLA, said:
“The private-rented sector is a valuable and growing part of local housing provision and it is essential that landlords are able to work with their local authorities constructively to meet housing need. However, this has been made difficult by some councils’ obfuscations concerning licensing fees.
“In light of these recent rulings we have asked local authorities to come clean about the level of fees they have charged private-landlords, if they were entitled to make these charges, and when they will refund any money unjustly demanded.
“In writing to all local authorities in England we’re acknowledging the good working partnership many private landlords have with town halls, but making clear they should not be absorbing the costs of overcharging to support other council functions”.
A copy of the NLA’s letter to local authorities can be read on the NLA’s website