Sternberg Reed’s Landlord and Tenant department acted successfully in a matter for a private landlord.

The matter concerned the commencement of the licensing scheme in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The scheme was introduced in 2015. The landlord for whom Sternberg Reed acted stated that he was not aware of its introduction at the initial stage and as such did not apply to have the properties licenced at the appropriate time. Due to properties being licenced late he was ordered to pay a fine in the Magistrates court, he complied with that order. There was no other relevant complaint against him as a landlord.

It was argued on behalf of the portfolio landlord that he was a fit and proper landlord, and that the grant of short, one year licence agreements would put the landlord to a greater cost than a full-term licence, and that the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s policy was unfair. It was found that there had been no deliberate or continuing breach by the landlord. The Local Authority’s policy referred to the spent convictions of applicants and could lead to the conclusion that any conviction however relevant would automatically lead to a reduced licence of one year, even if the applicant was deemed to be a fit and proper landlord.

The Upper Land Tribunal agreed with the First Tier Land Tribunal that Waltham Forest’s policy was unreasonable in relation to the references made to spent convictions.

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* Soulla Kokkinos, Elizabeth Bendall, Andrew Crossley, Yvonne Snow, Ryan Yates, Amanda Mansbridge, Julian Beard, Francecsa Clay.