Wednesday 7 June 2023
By Appellant’s Notice filed on 20 October 2022, the appellant appeals the Order of Mr Justice Fancourt, sitting as a Tribunal Judge in the Upper Tribunal, Lands Chamber, dated 9 September 2022, dismissing an appeal against the decision of the First-Tier Tribunal, Property Chamber (Residential Property) dated 16 August 2021.
Background – The Appeal relates to the scope of the jurisdiction of the FTT in hearing appeals of licencing decisions made by relevant authorities under Parts 2 and 3 of the Housing Act 2004.
The Appellant had revoked a number of HMO licences that had been granted to the First Respondent and refused to grant her licences in respect of seven further properties on the basis that she was not a fit and proper person having been convicted of fraud and dishonesty offences relating to licence applications and gas safety certificates.
The Appellant had also revoked licences that had been granted to the Third Respondent in respect of one property and refused to grant licences to the Second Respondent in respect of six properties on the basis that the Third Respondent (who was also the director of the Second Respondent) was not a fit and proper person. This was because of her association with the First Respondent, who was her mother, and her father who had both been convicted of offences of dishonesty relating to licencing under the Act. The Council concluded, on the evidence it had, that the Third Respondent had been closely involved in the family property rental business and was tainted by her parents’ conduct such that she was not a fit and proper person.
The Respondents appealed to the FTT which refused the appeals of the First Respondent but allowed the appeals of the Second and Third Respondent. The FTT treated the appeal as a rehearing and came to their own conclusions, on the evidence before them, as to whether the Third Respondent was a fit and proper person.
The Appellant appealed the findings of the FTT with regard to the Second and Third Respondents to the UT.
The UT substantially refused the appeal in respect of the Second Respondent, although the appeal with regard to the Third Respondent was granted, albeit on the limited grounds that by the time of the FTT judgment, the licence in question had expired and could not, therefore, be reinstated. The UT did not, however, find that the FTT had erred in taking it own view, on the evidence available to the FTT, on the question of whether the Third Respondent was a fit and proper person.