A landlord has launched a legal challenge against the council’s borough-wide compulsory licensing scheme.
Constantinos Regas began proceedings in the Administrative Court two weeks ago for a judicial review of the decision by Enfield Council’s cabinet to introduce the scheme for all private landlords.
Under the plans, known as additional and selective licensing, private landlords will have to obtain a £500 five-year licence from the council for every property they own.
In order to secure a licence, landlords have to ensure that sufficient health and safety measures are in place, as well as procedures to deal with antisocial behaviour and environmental crime.
The council believes that drawing up a landlords’ register will also tackle poor standards of housing, overcrowding and missed rubbish collections.
The rationale was previously challenged by a group of landlords who made deputations to the cabinet after their petition opposing the plans gathered 1,860 signatures – but the scheme was approved in April and the decision was affirmed later that month by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee.
Mr Regas, who rents out one property, said: “Like anyone applying for a judicial review, I am taking legal action as a last resort. My concerns have been ignored and the council has been uncooperative in providing information.
“My sole purpose is to ask the Administrative Court to scrutinise the council to make sure that it is not abusing its powers.”
The landlord is seeking to challenge the evidence on which the cabinet decision was taken, the legitimacy of the consultation process and the terms and conditions on which licences will be issued, which he describes as unreasonable.
Mr Regas added: “I have repeatedly stated at council meetings that I consider good housing conditions to be a human right – but the idea that a majority of tenants are neighbours from hell or that most landlords are greedy people who rent out ‘beds in sheds’ is not supported by any data.”
The council has vowed to “vigorously defend” the scheme. A spokeswoman said: “The scheme has been introduced to reduce antisocial behaviour in the borough and the council is vigorously defending the judicial review. It would be prejudicial to disclose the details of the council’s defence at this stage.”
The first step in the proceedings is for Mr Regas to show that he has a good case and a sufficient interest in the matter. If the court agrees, a judicial review will follow.
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