Paul Bowcock’s letter raises some interesting points (Observer, January 2).
I certainly agree that the council’s proposal of selective landlord licensing has no basis in existing legislation or circumstances and is not underpinned by any law passed in 2004 concerning anti-social behavior.
In fact anti-social behaviour seems almost particular to social housing rather than the private rental sector.
There is ample legislation in force to tackle rogue landlords and sub-standard housing but it is enforcing the legislation which is proving difficult. The council cannot be blamed squarely for this problem as certain facts have to be faced. There is an acute housing shortage, a large proportion of local housing stock is very old and the type and method of construction of older houses makes the application of modern standards very costly and difficult. Plus, and it has to be said, Hastings seems to have more than its fair share of problem tenants.
We have all witnessed the manic sometimes pathological ranting against private landlords, who in the most part play by the rules and maintain at least acceptable standards of accommodation.
The image of private landlords promoted by those in the public eye seeking to appease their retainers is of ‘Rachman’-style characters who own swathes of dilapidated properties when in fact a huge proportion of private landlords own only one property for rental, perhaps an inheritance, an investment after a life of hard work or their own place of residence if they have gone to live with a partner and are not able to sell their property.
Some landlords own a few properties which are very well managed and exceed housing association standards.
Mr Bowcock mentions a Judicial Review should the council attempt to enforce the burden of selective licensing with reference to a law which has little or nothing to do with this latest move which seems aimed at grabbing some cash, creating a few more clipboards and kicking the decent landlords while the usual suspects walk away rejoicing.
I, like many others, would offer their full support to any effort to secure a Judicial Review of what seems to be nothing more than an abuse of the existing law.