Agents and landlords in one of the country’s most politically-volatile cities are preparing to meet the local council to protest at a string of licensing schemes - and the buy to let investors say they will take their case to the Local Government Ombudsman if required.
In recent months Bristol’s Labour council has introduced a series of schemes for the private rental sector in the city; most recently, it announced it wishes to expand a selective scheme in the Easton suburb requiring owners to pay £470 per property to the council.
Now local landlords are saying the council is guilty of maldaministration because some of the justification for at least two of the schemes is based on inaccurate information.
The Bristol Evening Post quotes Paul Routledge, the chief executive of Cadogan House Investment Properties Ltd, as one of the driving forces behind the fight-back.
"Standing alone can become quite overwhelming, but the way forward is in numbers, proven by the North Somerset campaign this summer," he said. His reference to North Somerset was about a case - reported on Letting Agent Today - of a neighbouring council reversing its intentions on licensing in the light of agents’ and landlords’ protests.
"Selective licensing is all about public control over private rented sector homes, and has been on the agenda for a long time. Due to the housing crisis and the selling off of council houses, local authorities have to house people, and the only way they can do it is through the private rental sector.
"Once they've finished selectively licensing this country as much as they possibly can, by stealth, they will then consider capping rents. Once that's started, it's the beginning of the end and they'll have complete control over the private rental sector in this country," Routledge is quoted in the newspaper as saying.
Now he and others will meet Bristol city council's housing chief Paul Smith to raise their concerns.