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.