CITY LANDLORDS SLAM 'DISCRIMINATORY' BUD FOR COUNCIL LICENCES

Landlords have fallen out with the city council over a "discriminatory" licensing plan.

The row between the authority and Asian landlords is over moves to for additional licensing for houses of multiple occupation in the city.

The landlords say that, as many of these houses are owned by Asians, the plan amounts to discrimination.

And they say that councillors turned down the chance to meet them on the issue.

The council denies the claims.

Mr Shad Ali, of the Arboretum, said the plan would have the "unintended consequence" of being discriminatory towards the Asian community which owned a disproportionate amount of these types of houses.

 Mr Ali added: "Since the 1960s when we arrived here we have been investing heavily in the rented sector. It is very much in out economic make-up to buy property. This is going to affect one particular group of people more than another."

Mr Ali says the Asian community feels threatened by the move, adding: "We have supported the city council for many years. The way the council treats us as a business community is shocking."

Mr Ali felt that Asian landlords were not properly represented.

He said: "We organised a meeting to discuss the impact of the proposal.

"It is a meeting which we believe represents the foundation of democracy and the meeting should be used as an opportunity for local councillors to engage with local people and communities."

The meeting took place on May 16 and Mr Ali said it was a success.

"There were 70 landlords there," he said. "For a meeting of that sort on a Monday night, that's very good."

But Councillor Alex Ball, executive assistant for housing and regeneration, denied any suggestion that the council was being discriminatory.

He said: "I don't believe the statistics exist to verify that.

"This is a policy that we're looking to implement to improve the quality of housing for citizens in Nottingham.

"We don't, when making decisions, take into account which parts of the city may or not support us come election time.

"We're elected and we got a very strong mandate at the last election.

"The bit I find frustrating is that I've offered to meet Shad Ali and a couple of his colleagues. And we run a landlords' panel which is the method by which we engage with landlords."

The councillor for Sherwood outlined his reasons for not attending Mr Ali's event.

He said: "The type of public meeting that Shad Ali is proposing would not be conducive to this type of discussion – you are very unlikely to be able to get into the kind of detail we are talking about."

"There is a special face-to-face meeting still on the table for Mr Ali and his colleagues."

[Peter Blackburn, Nottingham Post, Friday, 24 May, 2013]