Landlord Threatens Council with Legal Action

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A large Teesside landlord has threatened legal action against the council for approving a selective landlord licensing scheme.

Peter Broome, one of the partners in charge of Python Properties, told the meeting of executive members that his company would be forced to ‘consider its position’ if the council approved the scheme, implying that legal action could be taken.

Middlesbrough Council’s executive decided last week to approve plans to roll-out selective landlord licensing in Newport ward.

The council hopes the scheme will transform the area following in the footsteps of a similar scheme in North Ormesby.

But the plans – which involve a £750 fee per property payable by private landlords – have proved controversial, leading to the implication that legal action could be taken.

However, Mr Broome insisted that he wished to work with the council. He said: ‘We all agree, Newport, Gresham – it needs sorting out. We support best practice, we want things to improve. However, we think there is an alternative solution to this.’

He suggested that a public private partnership negotiated between landlords and the council would be more cost effective, more efficient, and would have more effect ‘on the ground’ because it would involve private landlords and the council working together.

He continued: ‘All we’re asking for is that the executive to give us a little bit of time to sit down and work up these proposals with your officers.’

However, Councillor Mick Thompson, executive member for culture and communities at Middlesbrough Council, said it was right for the council to press ahead with its plans.

Mr Broome insisted that the extra costs would have to be passed on to tenants and felt that there are strong grounds for legal action to block the scheme, adding ‘it’s not something that any of us would want, but we may have to look at that’.

The council executive did approve the scheme, and Mr Broome accepted Cllr Thompson’s offer for a meeting to discuss how the scheme would be implemented.

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