A massive victory in Hyndburn today for Mr Paul Brown has caused chaos for councils running selective licensing. Multiple conditions of the Hyndburn Selective Licensing scheme (also copied by other councils) have been ruled out or had their wording changed by the Residential Property Tribunal sitting in Manchester.
This sets a new precedent for the UK and changes private rental licensing operations in other boroughs such as Newham, Waltham Forest, Enfield & Croydon- no appeal has been lodged by Hyndburn.
It is not known how many councils proposing schemes will now abandon their attempts to bring in selective licensing given this outcome. The likely outcome for schemes already underway means council's will have to return fees to Landlords as they're not entitled to charge more than is necessary under the Hemmings v Westminster judgement, that is if they wish to carry on. It may cause schemes to be abandoned altogether as they won't be able to meet the objectives of reducing Anti-Social Behaviour upon which most schemes were based upon in the first place.
The decision against Hyndburn also means more local taxpayers money has been lost trying to impose licensing onto private landlords. Hyndburn had to pay the costs of the Judicial Review Mr Brown (and others) won previously in 2010 - this case cost the council well over £100,000 at the time.
It is unknown if any private landlords have been fined under the conditions that have now been changed and or what ramifications this will have. Clearly any landlord who was fined for having breached conditions that are now ruled out could have a case to counter-claim.
Paul Brown (the applicant) said "Licensing is not about property conditions and the council (now) can't enforce these following on from this ruling"
The judgements are available on PDF if you want a copy please email firstname.lastname@example.org