We have previously reported on the consultation by the DCLG to grant a blanket consent to local authorities in England to operate selective and additional licensing schemes under parts 2 and 3 of the Housing Act 2004 (a blanket consent already exists in Wales). Despite the response to that consultation not setting out any further actions it now seems that the blanket approval has been given and communicated to local authorities, despite a complete absence of any announcement by the DCLG (at least I cannot find one).
This means that local authorities are not now required to seek the approval of the Secretary of State before choosing to licence other types of HMO in their area of responsibility or licensing all landlords in a specific area. They are still, however, required to carry out the consultations required by section 56 or 80 of the Housing Act 2004 respectively. I am aware that Harrow and Oxford both intend to take advantage of this new consent, information as regards other local authorities gratefully received.
As a landlord who does not have a licence prescribed by a designation under parts 2 or 3 is unable to serve a valid section 21 notice and can also have a rent repayment order made against him a check against the local housing authorities designations for parts 2 and 3 would be a sensible move for any advisor seeking to defend a possession action.
There is also the potential for further satellite litigation, primarily by way of judicial review, for landlords who object to a designation being made or by landlords who are threatened with prosecution where they believe that the local authority has failed to follow the consultation route correctly.
UPDATE- We have now obtained a copy the letter of consent signed by the Housing Minister bringing the blanket consent into force. This can be downloaded (as a pdf) here.