The RLA has opposed plans to introduce a licensing scheme in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire.
Bassetlaw District Council is consulting over proposals to introduce Selective Licensing for privately rented housing in the designated areas of Worksop South East, Worksop Central and Worksop Sandy Lane.
The consultation on the plans runs until 10th October, and a full list of the streets that would be affected by the proposals is available on the Council’s website.
The RLA’s consultation repsonse
In RLA’s consultation response to the plans, which you can read here, the association has opposed the proposed scheme, raising several concerns with it.
Fee structure concerns
One such concern is that the proposed fee structure is excessive and potentially unlawful.
The Council is proposing as part of the scheme to introduce a ‘Finder’s Fee’ of £150 where the Council has to do more than ‘the normal amount of work’ to ensure a licence application or a renewal is made. The Housing Act 2004 states that a licence fee must reflect the cost of running a scheme, and that they are only chargeable in relation to the application itself. In addition to this, the Council also proposes to charge landlords an additional £100 is a landlord submits a paper-based licence application.
The RLA considers both of these fees to be excessive, and would like to see both of these removed should the licence scheme get the go ahead.
Little evidence exists to show licensing raises standards
In our consultation response, we have also highlighted that there is little evidence that licensing schemes improve housing standards. The focus of Council staff becomes processing and issuing licences, and prosecutions centre on whether a property is licensed or not, instead of improving the management standards in the property.
Local authorities already have enforcement powers
There are already more than 150 Acts of Parliament and 400 regulations affecting landlords in the private rented sector. As well as this, Councils also have several enforcement powers such as civil penalties and banning orders, and the RLA warns that the Council should make full use of these powers before introducing a licensing scheme.
The consultation closes on 10th October 2019.