Campaigns Local Government South East

Bedford Announce HMO Licensing Consultation

bedford
India Cocking
Written by India Cocking

Landlords and letting agents in Bedford have until the 18th December 2017 to respond to Bedford Borough Council’s proposal to renew their existing HMO additional licensing scheme.

Bedford’s current scheme is due to come to an end next year in May, if this scheme is approved, it will extend the scheme for a further 5 years. The consultation comes to an end 18th December 2017.

All houses of multiple occupations (HMOs) which are 3 stories and above, house 5 or more people (not from the same family), and share facilities legally require a Mandatory HMO Licence. The introduction of an Additional Licensing scheme covers the HMO properties that are not covered by this licence. This licence requires a landlord and their property to meet specific standards including whether a landlord is ‘fit and proper’ to be a landlord. 

The fees for a licence are being proposed at:

Additional Licence – £593.30 + £59 per letting unit

Mandatory Licence – £593.30 + £59 per letting unit

Bedford Council mentions several reasons for their licencing scheme including;

  • A number of wards in Bedford have a much higher proportion of private rented sector accommodation in their areas which is over a quarter of their housing stock. Castle Ward has the highest value at 37.1%, followed by Harpur Ward at 31.4% and then De Parys Ward with 25.7%.
  • Anti-Social behavior.
  • High levels of crime.
  • Poor housing conditions, including fire safety.

They list the benefits that the scheme ‘should’ include as:
• Providing a greater choice of good quality private rented accommodation in the most deprived areas of the Borough.
• Improving the image and desirability of key areas Borough wide.
• Improving the management, conditions and repair of privately rented accommodation and increase the level of enforcement against criminal landlords.
• Making properties safer including improving fire safety.
• Influencing landlords to control levels of anti-social behaviour their properties which will benefit the community as a whole.
• Promoting the good landlords through the public register.
• Requiring absentee or unprofessional landlords to properly manage their properties to make sure suitable arrangements are in place to deal with any problems that arise.

The full details, including the 10 conditions the council have set, can be read in the Full Consultation Paper.

The RLA will make an official response to this consultation, as we do with all consultations, opposing this scheme. We urge our members to make their own response by answering Bedford’s questionnaire or writing them a letter outlining your views, opinions, and experiences as a landlord.

All our past responses can be read here. These letters can be used as template for your own responses, however please contact the Campaigns and Policy Team if you have any queries about making an official response to this consultation.

If you are a Bedford landlord you can also give the council your views by attending their Landlords’ Forum at 6:00pm on Thursday 23rd November 2017 in Committee Room 1 at Borough Hall.

Complete a questionnaire on line at: www.bedford.gov.uk/HMO
Call Community Regulation on the HMO Hotline: 01234 718516 or via email on: hmolicensing@bedford.gov.uk 

About the author

India Cocking

India Cocking

India is the Local Government Officer for the RLA. Having completed her degree in International Politics at Aberystwyth University, India is currently working on updating and maintaining the Local Authority Network. This is of importance as it strengthens communication and understanding between landlords, local authorities, and the RLA. India is working towards gathering concise and clear data from all 435 local authorities on their licencing, fees, news, events and contact details.

Before joining the RLA India worked at Martin and Co Lettings Agent in her home town of Derby, the Welsh Assembly, and her local MP, alongside helping her parents run the family buy-to-let business.

1 Comment

  • As Bedford landlords registered under the Additional HMO scheme, my wife and I are totally unimpressed by the scheme. In March 2014 we paid £447.45 to register 2 student properties for 5 years (the first property at £285 and second at £162.45). We have since sold one property. Now it seems we will be forced to pay £593.30 for the honour of having one house with 4 young professionals in it. That is an increase of 108% over the £285!!! UNBELIEVABLE.

    As with most newspaper and TV media, Bedford BC regards all landlords as evil crooks who are ripping off those poor, innocent tenants. But we are regarded by all our tenants as good, responsible landlords, who do our best to let high quality dwellings at competitive rents. Yet we are obliged to pay the fee for the Additional HMO licence, while getting NOTHING back in return. Meanwhile, those crooked landlords (and there are some, of course) probably get away scot-free. How many prosecutions of landlords has Bedford BC made since the scheme was launched? I suspect very few, if any.

    Further, why does nobody talk about the tenants? We all know of tenants who are irresponsible and are not fit to be tenants. Such as not caring for a property, late payment of rent, excessive noise etc. Why are they not licensed?!

    Finally, what does Bedford BC do with all the money that the licensing scheme brings in? Like most councils it is short of money, so this is just another tax on responsible landlords, who get nothing back

    The scheme must be resisted in every way.

    Peter L

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