Campaigns Local Government Region South West

Bristol’s HMO licensing scheme could force up rents

Samantha Watkin
Written by Samantha Watkin

Plans to introduce HMO licensing in parts of Bristol could force up rents – with the RLA writing to the city council to object to the plans.

The RLA also has concerns over the council’s draft application requirements and the draft licensing conditions for its HMO licensing scheme, proposed for 12 areas of the city.

The new licensing scheme would affect HMOs in Ashley, Bishopston & Ashley Down, Central, Clifton, Clifton Down, Cotham, Easton, Hotwells & Harbourside, Lawrence Hill, Redland, Southville and Windmill Hill and, if given the go ahead would come into force later this year.

The council has proposed a standard licencing fee of £1,660, with a £50 discount for an accredited landlord.

The RLA fears good landlords who apply for licences will have no choice but to pass the costs on to tenants in the form of increased rents, doing nothing to address affordability, while the criminal operators will simply ignore the scheme, as they do many other regulations.,

It also believes a £1,660 fee for a five year licence is an unnecessary financial burden to put on landlords, even with the discounts and that Bristol should pause the rollout until it has assessed the impact of mandatory HMO licensing due to come into force from 1st October.

The consultation response, which can be read heresays: “The Housing Strategy 2015-2020 aims to tackle the range of housing issues that affect people who live in Bristol, however these schemes do little but alienate lawful landlords by burdening them with additional costs, while criminal operators continue to ignore regulations and avoid these additional costs”.  

It goes on to state that there is little evidence that licensing schemes improve housing standards. This is because the focus of staff becomes the processing and issue of licences, while prosecutions centre on whether a property is licensed or not, rather than improving management standards and property conditions.

The RLA also has technical objections to licensing conditions regarding inventory requirements and the code of Good Management Practice proposed in the consultation documents.

Full details of these objections are explained in the letter.

About the author

Samantha Watkin

Samantha Watkin

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