Housing landlords and Hyndburn council are AGAIN set to battle it out in court over the controversial £1.1m selective licensing scheme.
Council bosses are seeking to appeal a ruling by the Residential Property Tribunal made in favour of the landlords which dismissed or amended six conditions of its licensing scheme.
The scheme was introduced in December 2012 as part of wider measures to deal with low housing demand, improve lives of tenants and landlord standards.
Hyndburn council was previously hit with a £100,000 legal bill in 2011 after a High Court judge quashed a previous attempt to introduce the scheme, citing a lack of proper consultation.
Hyndburn council are to appeal the decision to remove or amend two conditions in respect of carbon monoxide detectors and electrical installation condition reports.
But landlord campaigners claimed some of the new licence conditions introduced in the original scheme were ‘unlawful’ and are ‘confident’ that an appeal hearing in the Upper Tribunal, possibly as early as next month, will be dismissed.
Paul Brown, a landlord in the borough, said if the council appeal fails they could also face cost claims and invoices from landlords for work already carried out on their properties as well as more legal fees.
Mr Brown said: “The council have made a bit of a ‘boo boo’ by challenging this as it is now a judicial challenge and whatever the outcome will not only affect Hyndburn but every council across the land.
“We are pretty confident the appeal will again find in our favour.
“The council have accepted four of the conditions that were made in our favour but are appealing the other two.
“Yet they have done nothing to notify the landlords who are still abiding by those conditions. People are still doing things they shouldn’t have to do.
“They could be facing costs and invoices from landlords for making us do things and follow conditions which are unlawful.
“This tribunal is the last in the whole process of legal challenges and I look forward to when we get to the end of it.”
Council figures show 911 out of 1,252 applications received have been issued with a licence, with a further 248 still being processed, 40 at the ‘consultation’ stage and 53 having been cancelled.
Town hall bosses have warned that up to 350 properties in the scheme area have yet to apply for a licence and legal action could be taken if they are not received.
Hyndburn council said they are not in a position to comment while the matter is subject to legal proceedings.
A spokesman added: “Regarding the changes to the four conditions, the council is currently taking legal advice and will advise individual licence holders accordingly.”