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Legal challenge against council launched over landlord scheme
A legal challenge against a controversial landlord scheme has been mounted.
The debate on the landlord licensing scheme was due to take place at the full council last night but had been deferred to a later date after an application was made for a judicial review.
The council's scheme would require landlords to get a £500, five-year licence for each property they own and is aimed at cutting anti-social behaviour.
The council also believes the scheme will tackle rogue landlords, improve housing standards and reduce overcrowding.
It was passed at a fractious overview and scrutiny committee in May in which a group of landlords called ‘Stop Enfield’ lambasted the decision, calling the scheme a “disgrace.”
Now, Constantinos Regas, who spoke at the meeting two months ago, has launched a bid for a judicial review.
Conservative opposition leader Councillor Terry Neville was disappointed no debate took place.
He said; “It is always a matter of concern that a decision made by the council is being considered for judicial review, but it is the right of individuals affected by decisions such as this to challenge them in the courts.
“Although I understand the legal reasons given by the council's lawyers for postponing this debate, I do not agree that they are right.
"The paper featured our belief that the decision to create a landlord licensing scheme was unnecessary due to existing and new measures being put into place by the Conservative-led government to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords.
“The standard of private rented homes is a very big issue as the number of rented properties has increased in recent years in our borough, and it is our belief that the new measures being introduced by the Government, together with the diligent application of the existing law by the council against the minority of bad landlords, would be more effective in tackling the problem. I am keen therefore to debate this matter in the near future.”
The opposition agreed to adjourn the debate until a decision has been made on his challenge for a judicial review.
An Enfield Council spokesman said: “Enfield Council approved the additional selective licensing scheme on April 9, 2014. This decision was affirmed on 30 April by the cverview and scrutiny committee.
“The scheme has been introduced to reduce anti-social behaviour in the borough.
“The opposition priority cusiness paper titled tackling abuse in the private rented sector, was submitted by the Opposition for July’s full council meeting before the judicial review claim was issued.
“Following Enfield Council’s receipt of the judicial review claim, the opposition agreed at full council on July 16 to adjourn their paper until the judicial review is disposed of.
“Enfield Council is vigorously defending the judicial review. It would be prejudicial to disclose the details of the council’s defence at this stage.”