LANDLORDS CALLING ON GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW NEW NOTTINGHAM CITY COUNCIL SELECTIVE LICENSING SCHEME
In an article in the Nottingham Post (Friday 6 July 2018) with the headline 'Landlords call for review after controversial licensing scheme is launched', Matt Jarman wrote ...
... Landlords are calling for the government to step in and review Nottingham City Council's controversial plans to see around 32,000 properties licensed.
A petition has been set up which has gained just over 400 signatures, but needs 10,000 for a response.
From August 1, the city council is introducing a new selective licensing scheme whereby landlords who receive rent on a private property in certain parts of the city will need a licence to show their property meets safety and quality standards.
This is part of the council's plans to drive out bad landlords "cutting corners or undercutting good landlords" with properties containing faulty boilers and falling celings.
The application process went live on Sunday.
Concerns have been raised that good landlords are being victimised under the scheme and that processing 32,000 applications in one go is an "administration nightmare" for the council.
The scheme costs non-accredited landlords £780 per property over a five year period and £480 for accredited landlords.
Giles Inman, business development manager for EMPO, one of the largest landlord associations in Nottingham, said: "The application is very challenging and we feel the licence fee is far too high compared to other authorities.
"I think the scale of the task at hand of licensing 32,000 properties in one hit is impossible and an administration nightmare.
"We have asked for it to be done in stages. This scheme is being promoted to protect and safeguard tenants but the council has announced that they will only inspect up to 50 percent of properties, which weakens their argument.
"If you are a rogue landlord, they will just pay the money and will gamble on the fact they won't be inspected.
"It is like paying for an MOT and then being told they are not going to inspect your car."
The council said the 50 percent inspection figure refers to non-accredited landlords with properties which are unknown to the council.
The scheme will be reviewed on "an ongoing basis" including the number of inspections, with only 10 percent of landlords who are already accredited facing inspection.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, portfolio holder for planning and housing for the city council, said: "We closely followed strict Government guidelines on how to introduce this scheme, involving providing very robust evidence to show there is a need for it.
"This included the outcomes of a full public consultation when landlords had the opportunity to comment.
"It was a decision for the Secretary of State, who gave the go-ahead for the scheme, including the areas where it would be implemented."
Mick Roberts, 40, a private landlord with dozens of properties in the city, said: "The whole process is very unnecessary and time consuming.
"I know landlords that are selling up because of the licence. We are paying the price for rogue landlords."