We have been following the legal battle over HMO licensing between Nottingham City Council and one of their student landlords with some interest. In the latest instalment, the Supreme Court removed conditions applied by the Upper Tribunal in an earlier appeal which confirms our view (and contradicts a view held by PCC during the 5 years of Additional Licensing just ended), that you can take the type of tenant into account.
A simple example, is that gaps between spindles on stairs (balustrades) need to be 4 inches or less to prevent small children falling through, but in a house which will only be let to adults, is this relevant? PCC always argued they could not guarantee the type of tenant or their visitors, so all rules should apply to all properties. The new ruling shows that this is not the case and allowances can and should be made based on the type of tenant.
We often recommend members challenge or appeal decisions by inspectors, partly because they are inconsistent from one house to the next, but also because many of them are inappropriate given the type or usage of the property in question. So if you are asked to do something the benefit of which is not obvious, do consider challenging it before you spend your hard earned cash on what may be unnecessary alterations.