Shocking revelations about councils illegally applying shared housing regulations that can cost private property owners thousands of pounds without redress have led to a new web site that will name and shame the culprits.
Property Investment Expert (www.property-investment-expert.com) will investigate problems and ask the councils for an explanation to publish online and in the public domain.
The aim is to raise council awareness of HMO regulations and to encourage them to apply standards and licence conditions in a uniform fashion.
Councils were given new planning and licensing powers to control shared housing by the government from today.
Property Investment Expert has uncovered that councils often make mistakes in applying the law, according to reports on the Communities and Local Government web site.
A landlord spending £400,000 on upgrading 150 shared houses with new wash basins to meet government standards only for the council to say they were not needed a year after the work was completed
A council employing six officers to enforce HMO licensing on all HMOs in the area only to find only a small number required a licence by law.
A landlord winning a tribunal forcing a council to retract over onerous HMO licencing conditions
The CLG document also confirms councils and the government do not know how many unlicensed shared houses are operating in England.
Also revealed is information about a confidential database maintained by an unnamed London council that rates shared housing owners as good, bad or average landlords – and landlords have no right of redress or access to what the database says about them.
Clearly poor advice and training in often under resourced councils is costing property owners thousands of pounds, said Property Investment Expert editor Steve Sims. Something needs to be done to stop this continuing, so we will investigate complaints from property owners and name and shame council publically if they are found to be overstepping their powers.
Landlords have to be taken to account and the government is intending to let tenants rate them on a web site, so I dont see why rogue councils should not suffer the same fate.
Property owners can email their gripes with councils to Property Investment Expert (email@example.com) or visit the site to find out more.
Note to editors
The full extent of how councils fail understand and uniformally apply shared housing regulations is revealed in a free CLG download called Evaluation of the Impact of HMO Licensing and Selective Licensing
Councils were handed greater licensing controls and new planning powers by the Communities and Local Government Department from April 6, 2010.
These powers created a new planning use class for shared houses houses in multiple occupation or HMOs) and gave councils increased licensing powers.
Property Investment Expert is a news and knowledge resource for property investors and landlords edited by bestselling Dummies guide author (Understanding and Paying Less Property Tax for Dummies) and journalist Steve Sims.