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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Britain's second-largest lettings licensing scheme starts in a week's time

From August 1 Nottingham council is introducing a new selective licensing regime covering an estimated 32,000 privately rented homes.

This is an estimated 91 per cent of all rental properties making it the second scheme in the UK outside of London according to some industry experts.

As usual with such schemes the justification is that bad landlords, in the council’s own words, “fail to carry out essential maintenance, harass tenants or evict them unfairly, ignore legal requirements to protect tenants’ deposits and unfairly withhold deposits at the end of tenancy, add exorbitant fees to tenants’ accounts and fail to make improvements when asked to.”

The scheme will apparently address all these issues, the council suggests.

An official statement by the authority says: “The scheme is aimed at benefitting those good landlords who may struggle to get the rent they want because of the poor conditions of nearby properties. It should also get rogue landlords to change their behaviour, or get out of the market altogether.”

Failure to get a £780 five year licence by August 1 can lead to financial penalties of up to £30,000 or prosecution through the courts. 

The East Midlands Property Owners group, representing landlords, says the council has suggested to its members that they should not put up rents and instead treat the licence fees and other associated costs as part of the expense of running their property business. 

“This is considering the fact over 60 per cent of the respondents to the council’s selective licensing consultation were from landlords who stated they would pass the costs onto tenants” EMPO says.

The organisation says key conditions linked to the scheme are:

- ensuring the property and its curtilage is kept in repair & adequate security arrangements are in place;

- producing a management plan to deal with tenant ASB in and around the property;

- notifying the council of changes of details or circumstances (i.e. convictions, change of licence holder/ manager);

- providing evidence of formal landlord training in the last three years;

- providing evidence of landlord building insurance and copies of the EPC and gas certificate; 

- providing proof of right to reside in the UK;

- providing evidence of Portable Appliance Test for all landlord supplied appliances;

- providing a list of other rental properties owned across the England and Wales;

- providing the number of and sizes of bedrooms.

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    Revenue from fees around £25m. Call it £20m after some discounts. That’s enough to pay for 570 enforcement agents at £35k salary. Meaning one agent per 56 properties.

    Okay, halve the number of agents to 285; they have overheards; cost of prosecutions etc. That’s still one agent per 112 properties. Which is a reasonable ratio for the Council to fully manage the properties, never mind check them out.

    I think we need to look at the Council’s numbers and start asking some difficult questions.

    Finally, how does this fit with “Better regulation” principles of being targeted and proportionate?

    David Thomas

    Hi Andrew,
    Totally agree with your comments. Please help us to fight this by signing the petition below and sharing with anybody else you think would sign.
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/223039

     
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    What a load of tripe.
    When my local council sent in an Inspector to inspect my HMO licenced property, which is in a Council owned block and one that has over 50% of council tenants, some housing families of 5 or 6 persons, they admitted to me that the rules they made me work to and they equipment they made me install did not apply to their own flats! Strange but true.
    If they are proposing this new scheme to remove rogue landlords, it will also mean the will have to be removed themselves.
    My council also admitted that they did not have enough staff to "manage" the HMO landlords.
    Am I reading this right? are they proposing to charge all landlords a fee, not just HMO landlords?

    David Thomas

    Hi Steve,
    The are proposing all 32,000 properties must have licence and none of these are HMOs as they are covered under a different licensing scheme. They are charging every landlord and then openly admitting they will only inspect 50% of the properties over the 5 year licence period, an absolute joke! Please help us to fight this by signing the petition below and sharing with anybody else you think would sign.
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/223039

     
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    @David Thomas, So that means they are charging £1,500 per visit. I think they could do with a bit more efficiency. But then again they have no reason to be efficient as they are just dumping the bill for their inefficiencies on someone else.

     
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    Peterborough has an SL scheme and it shouts money-making con. The application process was the most ludicrous experience I have ever had and seemed to be designed with one thing in mind - to make the landlord give up.

    Last November we had a talk from one of the Council bods that told us there had been two prosecutions under the scheme rules. Not for poor maintenance, not for overcrowding, not for harassing tenants.... but because two landlords hadn't applied for licences. So how exactly has the scheme helped to improve standards???

    In addition the city is seeing homelessness rise through the roof. The number of families in emergency accommodation is up 200% in 12 months and even housing people in the council admit that SL is partly to do with that.

    Reap what you sow Nottingham, reap what you sow.

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