Selective licensing of private landlords

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    We have recently introduced selective licensing of local private landlords. I have been informed that if properties are highlighted which have not been licensed, HB can be terminated and monies already paid can be recovered. I have nver heard of this and would be grateful for any clarification.

    Thank you


    ‘Informed’ by whom, Andrew.Housing Benefit is a UK benefit, qualifying conditions and administrative procedures for which are laid down in statute and regulation by the UK government in Parliament.

    No local scheme such as licensing of accommodation or registration of landlords (as happened in Scotland a few years ago), whether it be introduced by a devolved administration, such as Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly, or by local government can interfere with those benefit provisions.

    I am not aware of any new stipulation in the benefit legislation that would enable withdrawal of Housing Benefit and recovery of previous payments because of a local licensing scheme.In Scotland there are statutory provisions which allow the local authority to seek a court order which negates any rental liability where landlord registration conditions have been breached by an individual landlord.In such circumstances the HB will stop because no rental liability is then deemed by law to exist.

    I would be interested to learn a bit more about the local licensing scheme to which you refer to see if it might be part of a national framework but even then I can’t think of any legislative provisions in the benefit scheme that would make HB conditional upon selective licensing conditions being met.

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