Last month we raised concerns about Portsmouth City Council selling addresses of landlords who own or manage HMO's in the southern half of the city.Â The original article can be viewed here.
We subsequently proposed what we believed was an interpretation of the law which would meet the needs of the council and all other users of the HMO register whilst avoiding the issues raised by our members. Unfortunately, the Council have chosen not to accept this interpretation and continue to sell our addresses to anyone who wants them.
We are continuing to pursue the issue. It has been raised with local MP's (one of whom has a role at the DCLG, the department responsible for the law in question) and will raise it nationally at the British Property Federation meetings in January. We are also aware of members who have complained directly to local councillors, the Housing Standards team at PCC who are operating the scheme and the Chief Executive of Portsmouth City Council.Â We will continue to update on progress in these pages.
From a wider perspective, we appear to be seeing less issues from members who are subject to licensing. There are still communication issues and we have raised the issue of inconsistent and copious documentation with the appropriate council personnel and will continue to represent our members as needed.Â We are also seeing less demands for 'a response in 14 days or you will face a £5,000 fine' and one member sent us an email, after originally being told to get her properties PAT tested or be fined, who now has a more 'appropriate' request from the licensing team and she wrote to us:
"I just thought I would update you on a letter I have just received from xxxxx xxxxxxx (Housing Standards Technical Officer).Â It states "Following the approval of a licence under Part 2 Housing Act 2004 I am pleased to inform you that you are fully compliant with all the current legal requirements and the property was of a good standard" so in my book that is a massive victory over the whole of this PAT test issue.Â She has gone from threatening me with a £5000 fine if I did not get another PAT certificate done within 14 days to the above.
I can't thank you and your team enough for fighting my corner for me, and I thought you would find this useful to know in case any other landlords get picked on by this officious individual."
So the good news is that the Council do listen and do try to work with us to make the scheme effective but there are areas where interpretations differ and in these situations, we will do what we can to ensure that common sense prevails. So if you have an issue, please let us know - but conversely, do ensure your properties are 'up to standard' before they are inspected otherwise you only have yourself to blame.
Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.