The RLA has responded to Stoke-on-Trent Council’s consultation on introducing Selective Licensing in 14 areas of the city.
The consultation response, which can be read here, explains why the RLA is against Selective Licensing being introduced in the areas of; Etruria, Hanley, Hanley Park, Shelton, Burslem Central, Hartshimm, Basford, Moorcroft, Joiner’s Square, Birches Head, Central Forest Park, Penkhull, and Stoke.
The council have proposed a standard licensing fee of £523, with an £100 discount for an accredited landlord and a £50 discount for any application made within the first 3 months of the scheme going live.
The consultation response states: “We understand that the Council’s Housing Strategy 2017-2022 sets out the Council’s objective to improve the condition and liveability of existing homes and rental management practices in Stoke on Trent. 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.”
Why the RLA in general opposes Selective Licensing
In general, the RLA is opposed to Selective Licensing, because it maintains that good, law abiding landlords have to pay for expensive licenses, the cost of of these could be passed on to tenants for example through increased rents.
The proposed standard licensing fee in these areas of Stoke on Trent is £523, which the RLA believes even with the discounts, is an unnecessary financial burden to put on landlords.
Little evidence that licensing schemes improve standards
The letter goes on to state that there is little evidence that licensing schemes actually 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.