North East

Hartlepool Council ignoring residents on landlord licensing

RLA
Written by RLA

Council is seeking to implement a Selective Licensing scheme for private landlords despite local residents telling the Council that a previous scheme was ineffective in dealing with nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

Council is seeking to implement a Selective Licensing scheme for private landlords despite local residents telling the Council that a previous scheme was ineffective in dealing with nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

Consultation documents produced by the Council reveal that the majority of respondents in areas that already have a licensing scheme say that it has failed to assist in reducing the turnover of tenancies, improving the behaviour of tenants or reducing persistent nuisance and anti-social behaviour.”*

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is opposing the scheme that will see landlords charged £600 to secure a licence for their property.

An RLA spokesman/RLA Policy Manager, John Stewart said,

“Not only do licensing schemes often fail to meet their objectives such as reducing anti-social behaviour, they can result in rent increases as landlords are forced to pass on the cost of these fees to tenants.

“Hartlepool Council need to listen to their own residents who say that current licensing schemes have failed to tackle local concerns.  The Council need to take effective enforcement action against criminal landlords and take more steps to tackle anti-social behaviour by bad tenants, instead of penalising the majority of good landlords that stick to the rules.”

The RLA represents over 15,000 landlords in England and Wales. As a campaigning, training, and accrediting organisation our number one objective is to make the lives of landlords easier. Find out more at http://rla.org.uk.

About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

6 Comments

  • I rent property in Croydon and that council is currently in consultation about “selective” borough wide licensing.
    They are proposing a fee of £1000 (no, you’ve read it right £1k – it’s not a typo) per property.

    I am about to pay £2424.49, possibly more, to correct damp and condensation issues – obviously essential work, as anyone would agree. I could probably get the work done cheaper from much less reliable companies, but after having been stung for more £2000 worth of works in the recent past that have proved totally ineffective, I want only the very best and companies that have already proved themselves.

    There is absolutely no way I am in any position to afford £1000 all payable upfront. I visited the website of a council that currently have a scheme in force and that states there is no way they will consider payment by installment – the ridiculous justification being the payment in full is needed as part of the licensing conditions, whereas IMHO they could take installments – miss more than one payment, license withdrawn; end of.

    Even if I were to pass the licensing fee onto my tenants as a rent increase, I could only increase their rent by £200 pa over 5 years – £200 isn’t going to put much back into my annual sinking fund, though isn’t going to have much impact on my tenants’ pockets either over a year.

    As I attempted to point out to the Croydon Council cabinet, where my tenants WILL suffer is because I won’t be able to carry out all essential repairs and maintenance work. They don’t seem to realise that most landlords are small businesses operating on tight profit margins. Most Croydon landlords will have a choice of pay the licensing fee, and let their properties go to seed; sell up and move their BTL to another borough, or simply evict the tenants and sell or just take the property off the rental market – either to live in themselves, or to leave empty.

    Really great farsighted plan to increase rental housing availability and quality, and encourage young, talented professionals to settle in the borough.

    • HI Mandy, thanks for commenting.

      The RLA has responded to the Croydon consultation on selective licensing, and urge you to do the same if you have not already!

      However, we agree entirely. Your example proves that landlords are determined to do the right thing, and even then such actions can be a potential minefield! It can be argued that the licensing fees – not even going to get into the ludicrous rate of £1,000! – could be re-invested into the properties in question!

      Hopefully the Councils in question realise that they are asking too much of local landlords and opt to work WITH landlords rather than throw more regulatory and financial burdens at them.

      Best regards,
      RLA Campaigns

  • I run a cleaning company that mainly focuses on rented properties, so ll’s ,tenants and la’s are my targeted clients. As such I work closely with the sector and have many friends on either side.

    As a objective spectator, I can say this will hurt all involved parties. As Mandy said, most landlord operate on the low side – 1 or maximum 2 properties. A 1000 pounds per property, just to get a paper with “LEGIT” written on it is complete and utter horse!@#$…

    Even if landlords consent to paying the money, they will mostly have no choice but to raise rents..AGAIN. Property prices and rents are already ridiculously high and some not so fortunate people can barely meet ends as it is..

    And all this benefits who ? Neither landlords, nor tenants can gain from this. If it’s all about prosecuting the bad landlords and properties, why not simply fine and charge THEM to pay for the coucil’s expenses. Or better yet, why not use the taxes we already pay…

  • The thing about Hartlepool Council is that they like to implement things first without thinking things through.

    I can name at least 4 dodgy Letting Agents based in Hartlepool and the surrounding areas that let out properties that you wouldnt let an animal live in.

    Allowing these rogue agents to let out substandard properties has been proven to increase anti social behavior, increases in crime and disorder and the health prospects of the occupier both physically and mentally.

    I would say there are only a handfull of genuine decent private Landlords operating in Hartlepool who let out decent properties that are of a good standard and I can name one Letting Agent that provides any good standard of housing in Hartlepool, however this is not including estate agents.

    In short, Hartlepool has again engaged its mouth before thinking and whilst I am for Licensing for landlords to kerb the rogue ones, I feel the scheme is again penalizing the genuine ones who will again have to foot the bill for being decent honest businessmen.

  • HMO licencing introduced around 3 yrs ago in Hastings. 2 5 storey properties near to me still not licensed and when I enquired why, they asked ME to come up with evidence of occupation!
    Proves that the worst landlords are still not forced to comply and the good landlords pay up and do the right thing.
    New scheme now in consutlation to license all the houses in the boro.
    Log on the the Hastings Boro Council website, fill in the online response form and tell them what you think.

  • £600 is such an outrageous sum. I own one property in one of the affected areas and I have been having problems finding tenants (or decent tenants), I have had a break-in, (most) possibly used as a drug use base, at least replacing carpet through out twice. Due to my residential location I have to have a local agent. They said it is the area that makes it difficult to find tenants or good tenants, not the house. It has now been empty for nearly six months. Trickle vents fitted, loft air vents fitted. Kitchen minimal but adequate and we check frequently how tenants are getting on and if there is any concerns. My tenants have been on benefits and it has not been easy. What does the licence actually do to improve the area? Why don’t the council deal more with the anti-social behaviour affecting the area rather than penalising landlords? We have done our best with providing a good accommodation. The licence will not help me in getting tenants if council are doing nothing to make the area safe. Is there an online petition to retrieve the decision?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.