Selective licensing schemes are being rolled out across the country. Many local councils have already implemented mandatory licensing schemes, yet many landlords are still being stung.
The RLA has become aware of landlords in the North West and South East expressing concerns of councils using licensing schemes as an extra bureaucratic hurdle that will only encumber landlords and by extrapolation, tenants.
Landlords in Blackburn have accused the local council of implementing selective licensing, introduced in areas of Ewood and central Darwen, as a money making scheme. Mr Habib Adam argues that because the scheme runs its course in 2014 the council should charge pro-rata costs for licences, rather than the full £500 which the council is charging for licenses. Mr Adam was also concerned that gas safety certificates, required by the council, were not being checked on an annual basis, which would give more credence to obligation considering the costs…he suggested because of infrequency of checks, many landlords do not renew and save licensing costs.
Elsewhere in Milton Keynes, Alex Caravello, chairman of the Milton Keynes Private Landlord Association (MKPLA) argued that the selective licensing proposed in some areas of Milton Keynes will contribute to lower house prices and rents to soar. Rent increase is founded on the price of licences which could be pushed onto tenants. House prices have devalued dramatically, as much as 25 per cent in some parts of the country – in Thanet in Kent – which could potentially dissuade people to sell, spurring on fewer homes for sale, thereby limiting choice.
The RLA has dealt often with selective licensing and urges all members and landlords to be aware of legal pressures in their area and to act accordingly.