Landlord wins in David and Goliath case over licensing

A David and Goliath case has resulted in an extraordinary victory for a single small landlord, protesting against a local authority’s plans for a licensing scheme.

Constantinos Regas, the landlord of just one property in the London borough of Enfield, pursued his case successfully.

But the council says it will now appeal against the decision of the High Court which this week quashed Enfield’s additional and selective licensing scheme, which would have applied to all private rented property in the borough.

In his handed down judgement, Judge McKenna said that “the implementation and operation of an unlawful designation is a continuing unlawful act”.

He found that Enfield Council had failed to consult properly and did not consult for the required time. He also refused permission for Enfield to appeal against the decision.

However, Enfield can apply directly to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal, and has 21 days to do so.

Regas brought the case against the council after repeatedly speaking against the proposals at council meetings. Most recently he spoke at the council’s cabinet meeting on November 12, where he warned councillors that a judge had already found that part of the scheme was “arguably unlawful” and that they should not go ahead with it.

Speaking after the judgement, Regas said: “I have always maintained my view that good housing standards are a human right. But Enfield Council have not gone about this the right way.

“They have accused tenants of being anti-social and have sought to criminalise landlords for tenants’ behaviour.

“The council have now been found acting unlawfully.

“The council’s cabinet and senior officers have demonised tenants, defiled democracy and disgraced themselves.

“They threw good money after bad in defending this case, despite me putting them on notice in June that they were not acting properly.

“The citizens of Enfield should welcome the resignations of the entire cabinet and senior officers.”

However, Enfield yesterday evening described the judgment as “disappointing”.

Cllr Ahmet Oykener, cabinet member for housing and estate renewal, said: “We disagree with the rulings made in this disappointing judgment.

“It finds technical flaws with the consultation process which informed the scheme – which do not tally with the facts.

“The judge has ruled that the consultation mainly focused on gathering the views of local Enfield people rather than people living in neighbouring boroughs.

“While we make no apologies for putting the views of the people we represent at the heart of our consultation activity, we find this ruling surprising as we extended the consultation outside the boundaries of the borough.

“He has also ruled that we did not formally consult over a ten-week period. We actually ran the consultation over a 12-week period – two weeks longer than recommended.

“The extent and the length of the consultation activity we undertook was informed by expert, external legal opinion.

“Furthermore, the judgement does not find fault with the licensing scheme or challenge the evidence-based report upon which the decision to implement this scheme was taken – which Justice Ouseley has previously described as ‘detailed and careful’.

“We are therefore requesting leave to appeal against the decision.

“Despite the technical points raised by the judge, the court recognised that 84% of Enfield’s residents and a majority of Enfield’s businesses who responded to the consultation strongly agreed with the decision to introduce the scheme.

“We will continue to stand up for the views and interests of Enfield’s residents and remain committed to introducing a scheme that many residents are waiting to be implemented.”


Email the story to a friend


  1. Will

    Other councils should take note. If a whole borough is anti-social it clearly demonstrates that the Councils and Police are incompetent and not doing the jobs they are paid for. This is not about housing it is about Enfield raising income and shows how power hungry petty officials can become.

  2. MF

    Congratulations Constantinos! Your success will no doubt benefit us all. Shame on Enfield Council for wasting tax payers' money. And shame on them for refusing to accept their mistakes (not to mention the decision of the High Court). Still, I doubt they care – it's not their money they're wasting. I wonder how much they've spent on this so far…


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.