Recent ruling…

Posted on Monday 14th April 2014

Does this affect you?

If you are a Landlord with a Licensed HMO maisonette or a council tax payer the recent court decision could affect you.

There was a recent court case where a Judge ruled that a maisonette in Bristol did not need a licence even though it was occupied by 5 unrelated people. His interpretation of the legislation was that they should be living on 3 floors or more and the stairs from the street was not living space and so the flat did not need a licence.

Bristol Council appealed the decision and lost and a copy of the decision is below. If you think may have paid for a licence which your Council has requested in error and which was not needed you may want to apply to your Council for a refund.

For a copy of the decision please go to

If you are a Council Tax payer it will affect you as your Council will have to meet these refunds from their income and this could result in more cuts or a rise in Council Tax!

Bruce Haagensen the Local Representative for the National Landlords Association believes that for somewhere like Newcastle there could be over 500 affected properties in the city which will mean they could have to find over £500k from this years budget. He has also been contacted by several members asking how it will affect them.

One other grey area that has been raised is whether they will also be liable to reimburse landlords for the cost of works carried out to meet Licence standards together with perhaps the cost of returning the property to its original condition. If that suggestion is correct then the total bill could rise into the millions.

We suggest that Landlords may want to write to the Leader of the Council for their refund giving a full breakdown so that he is fully aware of the extent of the impact of this ruling.

For Newcastle it is Councillor Nick Forbes c/o Newcastle Civic Centre or email to

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